LOGAN — One of the best teams in the 4A girls basketball ranks this year may well be the Morgan High Trojans.
Problem is, they are a 3A school.
The Trojans once again defeated a 4A school on Friday, beating Logan 70-41. In so doing, they raised their preseason record to 10-1, including a 6-1 record over 4A teams, the only loss being by three points to third-ranked Timpview. Coincidentally, five of those 4A schools are from Region 5, and Morgan is a perfect 5-0 against those schools.
This season's schedule is by design. After Friday night's victory, head coach Brad Matthews said, "I try to schedule as many big schools as possible. I even try to schedule the 5A schools, but their regions are so big, they don't have many preseason opportunities, and very few of them want to play a 3A school."
Thus, Matthews, in anticipation of and preparation for both a Region 10 schedule and the state tournament, schedules as many tough schools as possible. Difficult schedule notwithstanding, Morgan leads the state, all classifications, in scoring at 71.3 points per game. He attributes the point totals to improved defense this season.
"It starts with the defense and the pressure we put on teams. We force a lot of turnovers, and our whole team can shoot," the coach said.
Shoot they can. Currently, the Trojans are on pace to eclipse the current record for 3-pointers attempted in a season, currently held by Alta (367). Morgan has attempted 194 in 10 games, with 11 yet to play. It is converting those shots at a 35 percent clip, also a near-record pace.
Matthews also credits his senior leadership this season for helping to build team unity and confidence.
"I couldn't be happier with our seniors," he said. "They are great examples of hard work and dedication on and off the floor."
He is referring to the trio of point guard Rashel Blazzard, forward Breanna Hurlbut and post Lisa VanCampen. These three lead the team in most statistical categories, but it's not just the numbers that make the difference in this case.
VanCampen said, "Our goal is to ultimately win state." To do this, "we want to build team unity," said Hurlbut. Blazzard chimed in: "We work hard to develop trust on our team."
The three players also added that they have a lot more confidence in each other this year and that they spent a lot of time together over the summer.
The game Friday night at Logan was a good example. Ten different players scored for Morgan, led by Hurlbut's 13, Blazzard's 12 and guard Alli Tonks' 10. VanCampen and forward Jessica Carter pitched in with seven rebounds each. Blazzard had six assists, Hurlbut added five steals and VanCampen blocked four shots.
"We all know our jobs," Hurlbut said. VanCampen added, "We don't try to do more than we need to."
Indeed, behind an intense pressure defense, more than a dozen forced turnovers and great shooting, the Trojans rolled up 45 first-half points against Logan and cruised to the win from there. Megan Mills paced the Grizzlies with 15 points.
"We don't really care who scores the most," Blazzard said. "We just want to dominate people."
Chris VanCampen is a graduate of the University of Utah and Santa Clara Law School and practices law in Heber, is a father of four, an avid fly-fisherman, and announcer of many Morgan High School sports events. Email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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