TAYLORSVILLE The Springville High girls basketball team knows that its win Wednesday night in the quarterfinals of the 4A state girls tournament is breaking a long pattern of futility for the Red Devil girls basketball program.
Still, the young squad is more worried about getting another shot at Timpview than they are about winning more tournament games in two days than the program has won in the last decade.
"We just want to win for each other and Springville," said Ashley Kroneberger, who was stellar in every aspect of the Red Devils' 45-34 win over East in the 4A quarterfinals with 20 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. "It will be really fun to play Timpview a third time."
The Red Devils were about as hot as a team can get until they ran into the top-ranked T-birds in region play. They won two games after that loss but then struggled again losing three of their last four region contests.
What changed in the tournament?
"They are finally just playing like they know how to play," said head coach Nancy Warner. "The players just stepped up and they're playing hard all the time."
Warner said the team discussed exactly what it is they can control and what aspects of the game they can't.
"You can't rely on making your shots all the time," she said. "Sometimes they won't fall. But you can play hard-nosed defense and hustle all the time; you can be intense all the time."
Warner was a little disappointed that the Red Devils held a commanding 27-13 lead at half-time, but seemed to play with less urgency in the third quarter.
"They're young," she said. "They've never been here. Springville hasn't been in the tournament for eight years. They don't know what this is like. ... I was concerned that we let up like that. They know better than that."
Kroneberger said it was more adrenaline than complacency.
"We didn't want to let up," said the junior. "We played defense, just not as aggressive on offense. I don't think we got too full of ourselves. We just ran it a little too fast."
The Leopards were in trouble when seniors Lauren Porter and LaToya Utuone got into foul trouble.
"They're our go-to players," said East coach Joann Orr. "We didn't hit some shots when we needed to. But it was still a great season. This is a great group of seniors, and it's been a pleasure and a great privilege to coach them."
With Porter on the bench, Utuone took over for the Leopards doing everything from helping break the press to rebounding and scoring. She finished with a team-high 10 points, while guard Heather Hillam earned six steals. Sherale Singer was solid with seven points and two steals, while Sehe Vakalahi added five rebounds.
Kroneberger got help from Jessica Jensen on the boards as she grabbed eight rebounds, and Genna Brown scored seven points. Lexi Eaton earned three steals.The Red Devils will face Timpview at 4:10 Friday afternoon in the semifinals at Salt Lake Community College.