TAYLORSVILLE — The Taylorsville girls basketball team put together a new defensive scheme for its game against Granger on Tuesday night.
The Warriors (7-9, 3-2) knew the Lancers (12-4, 4-1) were fast, and they knew they could shoot. Throughout the entire first quarter, the Region 2-leading Granger squad did just that.
“It didn’t work out very well for us, and then we got into our comfort zone,” Taylorsville head coach Vicki Bohney said of the Warriors' switch to their bread-and-butter three-two zone. “And we played great.”
The Warriors jelled on the defensive end, turned it into momentum on the offensive end, and pulled away in the final quarter for a 67-53 upset victory.
“I am pretty speechless,” Bohney said. “I believed we could do it, but it was ... wow. The girls just came together tonight and played as a team. Everyone did their part. We’ve been talking about that all season and it finally happened tonight.”
Granger held a one-point advantage, 41-40, at the end of the third quarter, but it took the Warriors just seven seconds into the final period to take the lead and spark what turned into a 20-7 run. Taylorsville forced turnovers and drew fouls, which created more scoring opportunities and pushed the Lancers out of their game.
“From the get-go, I said, 'Defense is going to win this game,'” Bohney said. “(Granger is) just a very strong team overall and we haven’t been. I said, ‘If we play defense, we can win this game.’ That, I feel like, is what really came together.”
Early on, Taylorsville turned to center Mattie Evensen, the team’s 6-foot-3 powerhouse setting up camp on the low block. Despite collapsing defenses coming at her throughout the game, the senior scored 19 points and set up her teammates with dump passes and inside-out plays.
“We said, 'We’re going to spread it and get the ball into Mattie. And then if Mattie’s doubled, we’re going to dish,' and they did,” Bohney said. “They really executed well.”
Aiding Evensen was small forward Kaitlin Toluono, who recorded a career-high 28 points from the inside and on the wing.
“She is that player that’s all over the place,” Bohney said. “She knew she had to go inside if Mattie was doubled; she knew she had to come in from a wing. Her rebounding was great; her free throws were great; she really played her heart out.
“And she wanted it,” Bohney added. “This team really wanted it, partly because Granger is on top and we wanted to take down the team that was on top.”
Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.