TAYLORSVILLE — Full-court pressure.
That was the game plan for the Bountiful Braves when they entered the first round of the 4A state tournament at Salt Lake Community College. It was a successful plan as the Region 6 champions cruised past Herriman, 64-43, Tuesday.
“We’ve got a bunch of soccer kids,” head coach Joel Burton said. “We’d be dumb not to go out and run and put that pressure on knowing the kids we have.
“We’re not overly big," he added, "so we do expect that pressure on the perimeter to see if we can make the other teams make mistakes.”
The Braves did force Herriman into mistakes early on. They jumped out to a quick lead and never looked back, controlling the game from baseline to baseline.
“That was one of our better all-around games for four quarters,” Burton said. “It seems like we’ve been putting together a good, solid two quarters and then we take it off in the second half. It’s nice to see us show up and play for a good four quarters tonight.”
Pacing Bountiful in the 32-minute effort were team leaders Kennedy Merrick, Jenny Skedros and Tiana Dougher. The three scored 22, 15 and 15 points, respectively.
“Those three have been stellar all year long,” Burton said. He added that senior Ashley Erying, who provided a scoreless but solid effort, is also a main cog in the Bountiful leadership.
“I feel like we’ve really got four girls we can count on for a pretty fair number of points,” he said. “Usually those four, all of them have eight to 12, maybe more. We count on those guys for scoring.”
Adding to the Braves’ ability to apply pressure was their affective outside and mid-range shooting against the Mustangs.
“Tonight our perimeter shots were dropping, which hasn’t been a consistent thing,” Burton admitted. “It was really nice that we got to spread a team out a little bit instead of having to jam in through everybody.”
Up next, the Braves will meet Sky View on Thursday in a 4 p.m. quarterfinal. Sky View beat Bountiful on its own court earlier in the season.
“It is going to be a challenge for us,” the coach said. “But it’s a challenge our girls are up to.”
The Mustangs were led by junior forwards Ashlee Burge, who scored 14 points, and Kate Lamoreaux, who added 10 points.
Sarah Thomas is a graduate of the University of Utah and has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
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