It was really hard, but we kept our heads up and kept believing, and we knew we could shock everyone today. —Springville junior Brook Lynn Galbraith
TAYLORSVILLE — The Springville girls basketball team increased its season win total by 20 percent on Monday, pulling a shocking 42-32 upset over No. 1-seeded Roy in the first round of the 5A state playoffs. It was shocking to everyone but the Red Devil players involved, who despite putting forth a 4-18 record entering the postseason kept believing, and were paid off for that belief on Monday.
“We knew as long as we had faith, and if we kept working hard, that it would all come together,” said Springville junior Brook Lynn Galbraith. “It was really hard, but we kept our heads up and kept believing, and we knew we could shock everyone today.”
Galbraith made the play that pretty much sealed the royal upset.
Up 33-30 with just under two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Springville's Tara Warner converted on a layup to stretch the lead to 35-30. Then Galbraith stole the inbounds pass and converted a layup to put Roy down seven with just a minute and a half to make it up.
“Brook Lynn’s been great for us all year,” said Springville coach Camie Oakey. “She’s best when she lets the game come to her so this type of game plan was great (for her.)”
Galbraith was just one of several Springville players wreaking all sorts of havoc on Monday. Altogether the Red Devils forced 24 Roy turnovers, with Breanna Eves leading the way with six steals. Galbraith added three takeaways and Warner another three, as they completely took the Royals out of any rhythm offensively.
As good as the Springville defensive pressure was throughout the game, it was never better than in the third quarter.
With the score tied 18-18 at the half, most in attendance assumed the Region 5 champion Royals would take control in the second half.
But just the opposite happened.
Springville amped up the pressure after the break and held Roy scoreless until just under a minute remaining in the third quarter. The result was a 31-20 lead entering the fourth quarter, with all in attendance believing what Springville players had believed entering the game.
“I don’t know exactly what decision changed at that point, other than we came into the locker room and said, ‘You have 16 minutes of basketball left to prove what we are made of and what we’re capable of, and it’s going to start on the defensive end,” Oakey said.
A fitting end to the scoring came with Warner stripping the ball from Roy at midcourt and then driving all the way for what proved the final points of the game. Warner, who also runs track, was key for a Red Devils' game plan that focused on shutting down Roy leading scorer Josie Williams inside while using their speed on the perimeter to take the Royals out of their normal offensive flow.
“Our guard pressure brought the energy and brought the change, and we just executed perfectly,” Oakey said. “We just have lightning-quick guards so we have to use that. We knew coming into the season that defense would be the thing to take us to the next level.”
Balanced scoring was the story for Springville, with Eves scoring 11 points, Galbraith nine and Kallysta Strong and Warner eight apiece. Roy's Williams led all scoring with 23.
So just how bad did it get for the Red Devils this season? Bad would be an understatement, as the team lost its first 11 games entering Region 8 play.
It didn't get much better during region play, however, as Springville went 1-4 to open up play, although narrowly losing on most occasions. Such a predicament may work to frustrate many, but not Oakey's team.
“The whole tone, the entire season, was resilience and not giving in,” Oakey said. “We kept reminding them that the preseason is here to prepare you you get into the postseason with three or four wins and it doesn’t matter. Anything is possible.”
With the win, Springville advances to the quarterfinal round, where it will take on defending state champion Skyline.