RICHFIELD — After getting knocked off in both of their regular-season matchups, the North Sevier Lady Wolves got their revenge Friday afternoon as they blew past region foe South Sevier 48-34 to punch a ticket to the 2A championship.
South Sevier got the best of North Sevier during the regular season to earn the top spot in Region 15, making this victory just that much sweeter for the Lady Wolves.
“I really, honestly wanted to play South Sevier and Emery both in this tournament just for redemption, to prove that we could beat them, because I felt like we could and we couldn’t get the job done during the regular season,” South Sevier head coach Lexa Larsen said after the game.
North Sevier came out firing and jumped out of the gate with high intensity and urgency, outscoring the Lady Rams 16-7 in the opening quarter to take an early lead.
The Lady Wolves really stepped up on the defensive end as they held South Summit to just 26 percent shooting in the first half and a dismal 29 percent for the game.
“I thought we did a pretty good job at taking away their outside shooting,” Larsen added. “Our defense has just been getting better and better and better, especially the help.”
A scary moment occurred early in the first period when the Lady Rams’ sophomore star and leading scorer, Brielle Chisholm (12.6 ppg), took a hard fall and went back into the locker room. Chisholm returned to the bench in the second half but did not re-enter the game. She finished with two points on 1-of-3 shooting.
“I was trying to save the ball and I got pushed and slid head first into the bleachers,” an obviously frustrated Chisholm said after the game. “I hit the back of my head and my left shoulder was hurting really bad, too. I thought I was fine and was trying to shake it off, but then I saw blood coming down my face, and my coaches wouldn’t let me go back in the game.”
North Sevier’s strong start continued into the second quarter and helped it take a momentous 22-11 halftime lead over the Region 15 champs.
The Lady Rams finally started to find some rhythm in the second half, but the Lady Wolves’ precision-passing and balanced-scoring attack was too much to overcome as they hung on for the double-digit, semifinal victory.
“That’s what I always like. I like to get everybody involved in the offense and moving the ball and not really relying on one person,” said Larsen. “Our kids have become really unselfish about not caring who scores, as long as we win. That’s the kind of team I want to coach: team basketball.”
Playing team basketball is exactly what North Sevier did as it finished the game with three players in double figures, anchored by Morgan Johnson’s 15 points and nine rebounds while shooting north of 50 percent from the field to advance to the 2A state championship.
With the win, the North Sevier Lady Wolves advance to the 2A state championship Friday night at 5 p.m., where they will take on the winner of the Enterprise/Gunnison game.
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“It was fun to play them (South Sevier), but without Chisholm they aren’t the same team, so it feels a little unfair I guess,” added Larsen. “But I’m certainly glad to have the victory and I felt like my kids were ready to play and they could win anyway, but I do feel bad that Chisholm couldn’t play.”
Ryan Love is a full-time student at the University of Utah studying communications and has been a part-time sports reporter and scoreboarder for the Deseret News since October 2012.
Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724