BOUNTIFUL — When Cyprus and Bountiful squared off in a promising girls basketball showdown Friday evening, the visitors wanted to make a strong statement.
And, thanks to superb performances by Lori Parkinson, Abby Barrett and Julie Caputo, the Pirates' message came through loud and clear: They are the team to beat in Region 6 this season.
Parkinson and Barrett scored 18 points apiece and Caputo contributed 10 more as Cyprus turned back Bountiful 59-46 on the Braves' court, as the Pirates' ship sailed into undisputed possession of first place in the region race.
With its 10th straight victory overall, Cyprus (14-1, 4-0) emerged with a convincing double-digit road win and dealt Bountiful (11-4, 3-1) its first league loss.
Parkinson, a slender 6-foot-1 senior forward, jet-propelled the Pirates on both ends of the floor, hauling down a boatload of rebounds, swatting away a half-dozen or more Bountiful shots, swiping several steals, finding open teammates with crisp passes and helping her team break the Braves' sticky full-court press.
"This was our statement game," Parkinson said. "This was our biggest game of the season. ... We knew we had to go out with intensity and win this game.
"It's really hard to play on their court, because their fans are crazy and loud."
Barrett, a junior forward-center, scored 11 points in the fourth quarter to help the Pirates pull away. Caputo canned a rarely seen four-point play late in the first half as Cyprus led 29-20 at intermission, and she added three huge driving layups in the final period, while Marquessa Gilson and Tori Dyson also played key roles in the victory.
For Bountiful, Kennedy Merrick led the way with 13 points, Abbey Wilson added 10 and Taylor Boroson scored seven.
Parkinson, who didn't start playing basketball seriously until her sophomore year, has her sights set on playing college ball.
"I love to rebound," she said. "That's one thing I just love to do."
Her coach, Josh Adams, is certainly convinced she can play at the next level. Anyone who watched Friday's performance would definitely agree.
"She's phenomenal; she's fun," he said. "We've kind of been hiding our hand with her a little bit. ... We've been playing her a little more outside on the wing and it's kind of freaking people out. It's fun to see panic in people's eyes when she's up at the top of the key. She's a unique player; she's gotten a lot of looks from some colleges, and I'm pretty confident she'll go wherever she wants to go. The sky's the limit with her. ... There's plenty of people looking at her. We don't know where her ceiling is, and I don't think anyone does.
"This is a weird win for us because I'm a Bountiful alum, so this feels a little strange," Adams said. "But we're real happy to come in here and be on the opposite end of what we're used to here. Usually when I come to Bountiful, I'm rooting for the Braves, but not tonight. We're real excited about this win."
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