Wasatch’s trip to rival Judge Memorial on Tuesday had the potential to be an exciting night of basketball with the two leading scorers in 3A girls basketball squaring off.
Instead, the role players stole the show most of the night.
On a night when Judge’s Kailie Quinn struggled immensely from the field, and Wasatch’s Rebecca MaWhinney didn’t find her groove until the fourth quarter, it was unheralded stars Renee Fagg and Tristin Bills who came up huge in leading Wasatch to a 54-42 road victory.
“You have to use your other kids. I thought Judge did the same thing. It just comes down to those kids who get open if they can make those shots and that helps you keep your momentum going,” said Wasatch coach Tom Perkins.
The win was extra sweet for Wasatch, which lost starting center Riley Gagon to a torn ACL suffered in last Friday’s win over Park City. Gagon was averaging about five points and five rebounds per game.
“It was really hard, we just figured out yesterday that (she’s out for the year),” said MaWhinney, who led all scorers with 16 points “We just came in and played for her.”
A dominant second quarter proved to be the difference.
Trailing 14-13 early in the second, the Wasps scored 17 straight points over a four-minute span to open up a 30-14 lead. Fagg scored eight of her 15 points during the stretch as Wasatch held Judge to just 2-of-16 shooting in the quarter.
Judge‘s Julia Wheatley came off the bench and stopped the bleeding a bit with a rebound-putback at the 2:13 mark to end the 17-0 run, but Bulldogs still found themselves in a huge hole at the break, down 34-18.
Perkins did his best to keep his girls focused in the second half.
“I tell them don’t look at the scoreboard. Our job is to play, play defense. If you’re up 10, pretend you’re down 10,” said Perkins.
Down big, Judge came out with a renewed energy in the third quarter. It outscored Wasatch 12-4 in the third, and cut the deficit to 38-32 early in the fourth on Quinn’s first field goal of the game. The Wasps stayed calm though, and MaWhinney took over down the stretch to seal the win.
Averaging 19.3 points coming in, MaWhinney had just seven points on 3-of-12 shooting through the first three quarters, but she was great in the fourth, scoring nine of her game-high 16 points.
“It’s a really big win, especially because we just figured out that Riley is out for the season. It was a team win, and it’s good for us to figure out where we are,” said MaWhinney.
Tristin Bills chipped in with 10 points for Wasatch.
Judge’s Quinn was averaging a 3A-best 22.3 points coming in, but Wasatch defended her terrifically all game, holding her to just 11 points on 3-of-17 shooting.