High school girls basketball: Stifling defense lifts Desert Hills past Morgan
OGDEN — It didn’t take Desert Hills’ girls basketball team long to crush Morgan’s hope for an upset in the 3A quarterfinals Thursday night.
The Thunder held Morgan — which entered the state tournament as the highest scoring team in 3A at 56.6 ppg — scoreless throughout the entire first quarter and coasted the rest of the way for the easy 42-20 victory at the Dee Events Center.
“We knew if we came out and played our best game and played how we normally know how to play, we’d come out on top,” said Desert Hills guard Blair Bliss, who recorded nine points, six rebounds and four assists.
The win capped a clean sweep by Region 9 teams in the quarterfinals, and sets up a highly anticipated semifinal showdown between Desert Hills and Snow Canyon at 2:30 p.m. Friday.
“We’re familiar with Snow Canyon. We split games. I think we’re prepared. We know them pretty well. It should be a good game,” said Bliss.
While Morgan came into Thursday's contest with the No. 1 scoring offense in 3A, Desert Hills came in with the No. 1 scoring defense. Defense definitely trumped offense Thursday.
Desert Hills held Morgan to just 11 percent shooting (4 of 34) and forced the Trojans into 17 turnovers — which it turned into 15 points.
Desert Hills coach Chris Allred was thrilled with the hot start because he was genuinely worried about a cold start giving Region 11 champion Morgan hope. All three Region 9 girls teams that played earlier in the day had rough starts, but that certainly wasn’t the case for the Thunder.
Leading 10-0 after the first quarter, Desert Hills increased its lead to 19-8 by halftime and then pulled away for good by outscoring Morgan 17-10 in the third quarter.
“I thought we did a pretty good job defensively. Overall I thought we forced them into tough shots. There were some times even when we gave up midrange shots we had some pretty long girls running out on them and I don’t know that they’re used to playing against that kind of length,” said Allred.