ST. GEORGE — There was no way Judge sophomore sensation Kailie Quinn was going to let the brightly-lit stage of her first state tournament get the best of her. Definitely not on her 16th birthday.
She knew what she wanted most for her birthday, and 3A's leading scorer knew how to get it. Quinn poured in a career-high 31 points and dominated the glass as well to lead Judge to an impressive 55-39 quarterfinal victory over Carbon's senior-laden squad Thursday night at Dixie State College.
"She's been pretty darn good all year. She's in that mode where she's refuse to lose right now. She does it inside, she does it outside. She sparks the team," said Judge coach Matt Mapstone.
Quinn's previous career high was 30 points against Union on Jan. 19, and she finally eclipsed that mark with 35 seconds left in the game on her 10th free throw of the game.
Normally a solid free throw shooter, she missed three in the fourth quarter, finishing the game 10 for 15 from the line. Otherwise the career high could've been even higher.
"It's my first time being in a state tournament, and I was just really excited for that," said Quinn.
Led by nine first quarter points on two 3-pointers by Quinn, Judge jumped out to a quick 11-4 lead and looked poised to run away from the Region 12 champs. Instead, the Dinos clawed back into the game and trimmed the lead to 21-19 at the break.
After being held scoreless in the first quarter, Carbon's leading scorer Miranda Averett scored six points in the second quarter. Mapstone stressed with this players the need to quell Carbon's momentum early in the third quarter.
"We knew they were seasoned. They wanted to get back to the championship game; they have seven seniors. We came out with a nice start, but we knew they wouldn't go away. We challenged them at halftime — 'we've got to win the first four minutes against these guys,' " he said.
Judge, and in particular Quinn, did just that. She scored 12 straight points as Judge opened up a 33-22 lead late in the quarter. The Bulldogs' lead never dipped below nine points the rest of the way.
Judge made 14 of 20 free throws in the fourth quarter to ensure the Dinos couldn't claw back into the game.
The Bulldogs will have a quick turnaround for the semifinals as it faces the Morgan-Desert Hills winner on Friday at 2:30 p.m.
Regardless of who his team plays, Mapstone said his team needs to play its game.
"We've just got to stay focused. We've got to play up and down, we can't get into a slow tempo game with anyone. That's not our style. We've got to get people out of sorts and move up and down the floor," he said.
In addition to Quinn's big night, Judge got big contribution from Sydney Richards who scored 11 points. Averett scored 13 points in the loss for the Dinos.
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