What was billed as the best matchup of the 3A girls tournament at first looked more like the worst conceivable contest.
Union and Emery were both ranked in the top four but played like last place teams for the first half as turnovers were the rule."I didn't want to tell the kids that," Union coach Mike Ross said after his team blew out the Spartans 58-37 in an "ugly" basketball game. "But I thought that's what it was."
The ugliness included 53 total turnovers - 34 by Emery - and neither team shooting better than 38 percent.
Emery's 6-3 point guard Adrianne Bradley committed 15 turnovers herself as she tried to break the press either by dribbling through traffic or trying to throw the ball the length of the court.
"We hoped they'd do that," Ross said. "We didn't think they had what they need to do that and that we could be successful by pressing them."
The first half of ugly basketball for both teams resulted in a 19-15 halftime score.
The second half saw Emery keep up its miserable pace, but the top-ranked Cougars showed the form that helped them lose only one game all year.
"We knew we had the potential so might have been a little apprehensive," Ross said. "But they showed a lot of composure and stayed with the game plan."
A 20-4 run in the second quarter turned the close game into a comfortable win for Union.
Sheila Hutchinson led the Cougars with 12 points, while four others scored at least eight. Union dominated the glass as well as the turnovers. Led by Alicia Uresk's nine boards, the Cougs ouitrebounded Emery 37-25.
Bradley had 12 for the Spartans, while center Andee Larsen added 10.
In other 3A girls prep action:
PINE VIEW 43, LEHI 41 : Krystal Esplin led the Panthers to a hard-fought overtime win with 16 points, while Shauntel Garrett added seven points and 10 rebounds.
The Panthers hit all four overtime free throws, including two by Esplin with 26 seconds to play, to pull ahead. Jessica Freeman sent the game to overtime by hitting a layup with a minute to play in regulation.
MORGAN 44, NORTH SANPETE 43: The Ladies of Troy made a dramatic comeback in the final minute to steal a win from the Hawks.
Down by four with less than a minute to play, Morgan got a three-pointer from Paige Hansen and another jumper seconds later also by Hansen to pull ahead and earn a trip into the semi-finals.
SNOW CANYON 65, WASATCH 59: Four Warriors scored in double digits led by Dani Shaheen's 23-point outing. Chanell Rose added 15 points and 10 rebounds in the win.
After trailing by four at the half, Snow Canyon had a 16-8 third quarter to take control of the game. Wasatch's Carrie Summerhays finished with 20 points, and Tasha Widdison had 17.