RICHFIELD — It took the Rich girls basketball team a few minutes to warm up on Thursday evening.

But once the Rebels were firing on all cylinders, there was no looking back in their 51-20 victory over Wendover at the 1A state tournament at the Sevier Valley Center.

“After we got going I thought we played pretty well,” said Rich head coach Scott Ferguson.

By the end of the first quarter, the Rebels were looking at a two-point deficit, 10-8, but responded by holding the Wildcats to just two points in the second period while posting 13 of their own points.

The second half continued with much the same rhythm as Rich limited Wendover to just eight points across the final two quarters.

“I thought they pushed the ball really well after we got going,” Ferguson said. “From the start of the second half, we pushed the ball really well, kind of blew it open.”

Even with the strong recovery after the slow start, Ferguson wants his team to make sure it returns to the court Friday with more fire at the tipoff.

“I think it helps gets you a little rest for that third game,” he said of the Rebels’ matchup with top-ranked Panguitch in the semifinals. “But you’d kinda like to keep your game up. I thought we were a little down to start.”

To make sure that doesn’t happen again, the coach said he and his team are going to focus on improving their performance on the defensive end of the floor.

“We’ve got to be a little bit quicker in rotations in our zone,” Ferguson said. “You get to here, that’s what you have to focus on.”

Jessica Cuevas led Wendover with six points while Jasmine Maldonado and Aurora Rodriguez had four points each. The Wildcats will face Whitehorse in the consolation bracket Friday at 4:30 p.m.

Carol Weston was the high-scorer with 11 points for Rich, and Chelsea Errington added 10 more. The Rebels’ semifinal game is set for 6 p.m.

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.