SANDY — Springville had a harder time holding onto the basketball than catching a greased pig in its season opener at Alta Tuesday.
But behind a 15-0 run spurred by Malia Nawahine in the second and third quarters, the Red Devils pulled off a 59-50 upset over the Hawks despite 21 turnovers.
“I think it's good with our confidence, but it was kind of an ugly win,” Nawahine said. “We have a lot to work on. I think we got better as the game went on and we handled the pressure better. I think we should have handled the pressure better early on, but I think we got used to it.”
Alta dictated the pace early with its extended full court press and looked to be pulling away in the second quarter when Lauren Garland’s contested layup gave the Hawks a 25-19 lead.
Then, not panicking, Springville clamped the Hawks down by limiting second-chance opportunities defensively and started to find success off the dribble in the paint.
After Nawahine and Hannah Packard cut the deficit to 25-23, Ashli Averett evened the score with a 15-foot jumper with 43 seconds left in the first half.
On the opening possession of the third quarter, Nawahine gave the Devils their first lead — one they would never relinquish — on an old fashioned three point play. Springville extended the cushion 34-25 behind buckets from Baylee Park and Brooke Wheeler and two freebies by Nawahine.
The difference proved to be the foul disparity and Springville’s consistency at the charity stripe. After starting 4-for-8 at the free-throw line, the Devils knocked down 18 of their next 21 attempts. The Hawks, content with perimeter shots, were 7-for-10 at the line.
“Going hard to the basket,” Nawahine attributed the free-throw attempts too. “My teammates see me well in the paint so they know to get it to me when there’s a mismatch.”
The Hawks finally ended Springville’s 15-0 run on Chloe Ferre’s 3-pointer from the wing that soon paved the way for a mini run of their own. Madyson Quigley and Elsa Ferre followed with two more treys, and after Quigley’s free throws with 1:42 left in the third, the Hawks clawed back to tie things at 38-38.
Nawahine, playing with four fouls, quickly put an end to the surge. Following Wheeler’s three points at the line, Nawahine scored eight points and with 2:57 remaining in regulation drilled a 10-foot jumper off one dribble for a 51-42 lead.
“Just be smart — don’t pick up a fifth,” Nawahine said about playing under foul trouble. “Just be smart with how I play defense.”
Nawahine led all scorers with 29 points while Wheeler and Packard added 12 and 11 for the Devils, respectively. Quigley led the Hawks with 21 points and three 3-pointers.
“I think it’s good ’cause we have a lot to work on now," Nawahine said of the sloppy win. "Now we can get back in the gym and we know what needs to be done on the court.”
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