TAYLORSVILLE — It’s not like Corner Canyon needed any extra motivation, but it got a small dose anyway Tuesday morning when region foe Timpview was surprisingly ousted in the opening game of the 5A state tournament.
It was a fate Corner Canyon experienced firsthand last year, and Timpview’s loss was a reminder that anything can happen in the playoffs, regardless of expectations.
“That feeling, it’s kind of heartbreaking,” said Corner Canyon senior Kemery Martin when reflecting back to last season.
There was no such heartache for the Chargers when it was their turn to take the floor at Salt Lake Community College on Thursday evening. They absorbed a hot start from Springville and then took control in the second quarter on their way to a convincing 62-48 win over Springville.
As she has most nights this season, Martin led the way for Corner Canyon, finishing with 25 points on 9 of 18 shooting to go along with her eight rebounds and four assists.
She acknowledged the Timpview loss was a surprise, but it didn’t change the mindset or approach for the Chargers.
“Our mindset coming to state is one step at a time," Martin said. "We don’t want distractions so if we get that in our heads, we could play different."
That focus didn’t waver even when Springville built a 17-12 lead by the end of first quarter. Corner Canyon responded by outscoring Springville 20-7 in the second quarter for the 32-24 halftime lead.
Martin scored 15 of her 25 points in the first half. When her baseline 3-pointer bounced off the front of the rim three times before dropping in with 2:29 left in the half, Martin smiled and shrugged her shoulders. It was one of those nights for Corner Canyon, a performance coach Jeramy Acker said was a year in the making after losing to Highland in the first round last year.
“My big thing about last year is we made mistakes, and I think this year we corrected them and that’s the big key: recognizing when you make a mistake and then having the willingness to fix it,” Acker said.
Corner Canyon shot 43 percent on Tuesday night, outscoring Springville in every quarter but the first. Jaeden Vaifanua added 18 points and eight rebounds for the Chargers.Comment on this story
The Chargers advanced to the 5A quarterfinals with the win and will face Farmington on Thursday at 4:10 p.m. They’ll be the favorite every time they step on the floor this week, and the senior Martin is a huge reason why.
“I think Kemery can take over any game she plays in, and the most amazing part about her is when she doesn’t, when she gets other people going,” Acker said. “She trusts in herself, she trusts in her teammates, and we’ve got a shot in every game because she is that special. Utah is getting a player that is at the next level right now ready to go.”
Brooke Lynn Galbraith scored 16 points to lead Springville in the loss.