ST. GEORGE — After five Region 9 teams — four boys and 1 girls — won their 3A quarterfinal games earlier in the day at Dixie State College on Thursday, Desert Hills girls basketball team wasn't about to be the party crashers.
The Thunder came out and took it to Morgan right from the opening whistle, building a 24-point lead at one point on their way to a dominating 46-29 victory.
Just as they have all year, Desert Hills' sophomore duo of Blair Bliss and Haley Bodnar led the way with nine points each.
Desert Hills advances to Friday's semifinals and will face Judge at 2:30 p.m.
Morgan, which came into the game averaging a 3A-best 57 points per game, couldn't get anything going offensively, scoring just 10 points in the first half and just 18 through the first three quarters.
"We've been up and down shooting the ball all year long, but the one thing that's been constant for us is our defensive pressure and just making sure we don't give up too many uncontested shots and making sure its one-and-done and not giving up offensive rebounds," said Desert Hills coach Chris Allred.
Morgan leading scorer Rashel Blazzard was held scoreless through three quarters and only finished with seven points.
"We knew that we needed to make sure we don't give her open looks and don't let her get to the basket. If she did dribble penetrate we knew that our bigs needed to step up and contest shots," said Allred.
At 6-foot-3, Bodnar is one of the best bigs in 3A at altering shots.
Kelsey Henry finished with eight points in the loss for the Trojans, who've been blown out in the quarterfinals in back-to-back years.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company