OGDEN — Snow Canyon’s girls basketball team needed a pick-me-up.
Although the Warriors did lead Delta by one at the half of Thursday’s 3A quarterfinal, they had trounced the Rabbits by 21 back in the preseason and were expected to roll again in the playoffs.
A little motivational speech at halftime put the Warriors back on track.
“We talked about just wanting it and heart, doing it for the love of the game and each other,” said Snow Canyon center Megan Leavitt.
Snow Canyon did just that in the second half at the Dee Events Center, and quickly put an end to any upset chatter. The defending state champion Warriors held Delta to 24 percent shooting in the second half and built a 20-point lead at one point on their way to a routine 53-36 victory.
Amy Harris and Ashlee Nyborg scored 12 each for Snow Canyon, with Leavitt chipping in with seven points and 10 rebounds.
Snow Canyon advances to Friday’s 3A semifinals against rival Desert Hills at 2:30 p.m.
“We know each other really well. We have quite a history,” said Snow Canyon coach Wade Jensen.
The two 3A finalists last year split their regular-season meetings this season, with Snow Canyon winning 53-46 on Jan. 8 and Desert Hills returning the favor emphatically with a 54-33 win on Jan. 31.
Early on Thursday, it looked like sluggish Snow Canyon might play its way into the consolation bracket, as the Warriors only led 22-21 at the half. Jensen attributed a lot of the struggles to rebounding.
“We focus a lot on rebounds, and I thought they outrebounded us there. And when we give up two or three shots, we struggled,” said Jensen.
Even though Snow Canyon still had a 22-18 edge in rebounding in the first half, Jensen still wasn’t happy and his players made a much more concerted effort to keep the Rabbits off the boards in the second half.
Angela Burton led Delta with 11 points, and TaNeil Clayton chipped in with eight points.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company