High school girls basketball: Milford Tigers finish the season with big win
RICHFIELD — The tears she desperately tried to hold back say it all.
Senior Rebecca Wright waves her hand and asks for a moment as she contemplates what this season has meant to her and her teammates.
"I don't know what my role in life is going to be," Wright said after she helped the Tigers to a 39-31 win over Manila to claim fifth place in the 1A state tournament Saturday at the Sevier Valley Center.
When she steps on the court, she knows just who she is and what she needs to do to succeed — play defense.
"She's the defensive stopper," head coach Jeff Brough said about Wright.
And then Wright quickly but quietly recounts her best moment this season.
"When we played Bryce Valley," she said, "I was getting steals and making shots that I never make. I was helping my team."
The other four seniors watch Wright quietly, some smiling, as they all consider what it's meant to be part of a team that delivered some surprises this season. "It's on everybody's mind that you want to go get the prize," Brough said of the team's fifth-place finish. "This year it wasn't in the cards for us. But our girls gave it all they had. They played really well."
The Tigers battled through a tough Region 20 and always-surprising tournament to earn the No. 2 seed. Their quest for a title ended with a loss in the quarterfinals to defending state champions St. Joseph.
"We keep running into St. Joe's," Brough said smiling. "But we battled. I think they knew they were in a ballgame."
Manila was led by Ashley Hullinger's seven points and Rebecca Collet's six points.
Milford Shyla Sherwood said basketball has taught her what will be a very useful life lesson.
"Your hard work and dedication will pay off," she said.
Taylor Wood said her favorite memory was easy.
"Anytime I was on the floor was a good one," she said smiling.
Nicole Florence stood with her teammates on crutches and recounted how she tried to play with a torn ACL and meniscus because "it was my senior year."
"I love basketball," she said. "That even though we don't know each other (before the season), we come together and work well together. (In life) I'll be able to get along with others."
Her twin sister, Tia Florence, talked about how the pair had to move to the small town in central Utah from Nevada just before their senior season.
"My favorite memory is just playing on the team," she said.