TAYLORSVILLE — The Thunderbirds were not playing typical Timpview basketball.
They weren’t driving to the basket. They weren’t cutting without the ball. And they were settling for outside shots.
But after a check of the shot chart and a pep talk at halftime, the Region 8 team reverted back to its game plan and survived a battle against a scrappy Logan team in the first round of the 4A state tournament Tuesday evening.
“We showed the team our shot chart throughout the season, where shots were. They were all in the paint,” Timpview coach Casey Cooke said after his team's narrow 53-49 victory. “We (said), ‘We’re settling for outside shots. That’s exactly what they want us to do.’ We said, ‘We’re changing our game. We’re not playing like Timpview plays.’”
It was Logan’s Lauren Mott that knocked the Thunderbirds out of their groove. The 6-foot senior scored 10 of her 17 total points in the first half, including a span in the final two minutes of the second quarter where she outscored Timpview 8-3 all by herself.
In response, Cooke’s halftime message was simple: “I challenged them. I said, ‘Seniors, this is your last chance. Don’t have any regrets. Play our game. Go out and show them what Timpview basketball is.”
She told the team to be more aggressive, and the girls responded. After trailing 23-21 at the midpoint, the Thunderbirds opened the third quarter on a 16-3 run, ultimately outscoring Logan 20-9 in the period.
Sophomores Lacy and Lindie Haddock led the resurgence, scoring 13 and nine points, respectively, as well as contributing leadership on the floor.
Mott, Megan Mills and Catherine Mount led a scrappy Logan comeback effort, hitting late 3-pointers and free throws to stay alive, but the gap was too great. Mills finished with 16 points and three 3-pointers and Mount added 12 points and two 3s.
Cooke said it was nice to see “the real Timpview team in the second half” after the postseason nerves wore off.
“That was one thing I was worried about today — our jitters,” she said. “We haven’t been to state for quite a while. It was our first time with this group. It took us a minute to settle in.”
Timpview will now meet region foe Orem on Thursday in a 2:30 p.m. quarterfinal. The fifth-seeded Tigers upset No. 1 Skyline, 40-31, on Tuesday to punch their ticket to the next round.
“We’ve beat them twice,” Cooke said of Orem, “but it’s hard to beat a team three times. We’re definitely going to have to bring our A game. It’s going to be a battle.”
Sarah Thomas is a graduate of the University of Utah and has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org