The score of the box
The Morgan High School girls’ basketball team scored a spectacular victory in the 3A State Championship game on Saturday night at Richfield.
Morgan, who lost to 12 in the first half, managed to turn the tide to secure a 51-47 victory over Emery.
“It took solidarity and friendship,” said coach Sterling Mack. This is the first state women’s basketball title for Morgan since the Lady Trojans won back-to-back championships in 2003-04, and it is the first for Mack.
Emery’s Lady Spartans got off to a strong start when Tatum Tanner fell in three shots in the first four minutes, while Baylee Jacobson hit a pair of three pointers. With a poor shot from Tambrie Tuttle, Emery was leading 13-1.
Morgan’s Camilla Brooks broke Emery’s run with a downtown, followed by a three-point game converted by teammate Alexandria Trussell.
At the end of the first period, Emery was still up 15-7. Over the next eight minutes, the Lady Spartans continued to control the header, adding a point aside at halftime, where the score was 29-20.
Morgan’s women’s basketball coach Sterling Mack literally jumps for joy after her team won the state championship on Saturday, February 27, 2021.
The Morgan High School girls’ basketball team celebrate their state championship on Saturday, February 27, 2021 in Richfield.
“I told them to just settle down,” Mack said. “I expected these girls to have some nervousness. I just told them to sit down and play our game.
At the start of the third period, Morgan’s daughters began to rock Emery.
A 13-5 run in favor of Morgan was capped by two 3-pointers shot by Elena Birkeland, and narrowed the lead to just one point at the start of the final period.
“Elena hit those 3-point clutch. Since then we knew we could take that ‘W’ if we stayed together, ”said Alexandria Trussell, a Lady Trojans junior.
Janel Blazzard, a junior, hit a paint shot and was sent to the line for one more to give Morgan his first lead of the game with 7:43 to go.
“I really think we just got together and realized that this was about our team and the way we play together,” said Blazzard. “That’s what gets us through these difficult spots.”
The head changed hands nine times in the last period.
Just as Morgan took a four-point lead with 1:22 remaining in the game, Emery’s Jacobson hit another trey and reduced the lead to one.
Trussell registered his last points on the field with an inside jumper less than a minute from time.
Jacobsen was sent to the foul line, where she reduced the lead by one with 24.4 seconds remaining on the clock.
Trussell was then sent to the line with 2.4 seconds left, where she drained both shots, making it a two-possession game and cementing the victory.
“You have to really focus and hit those,” Trussell said. “It’s easy money.”
Trussell finished the night with a double-double with 13 rebounds and 15 points.
“We were a bit slow to start in the first quarter. In the third quarter we really took it back and we fought hard, ”said Alyvia Jaffa, a rookie who had eight rebounds for the Lady Trojans. “From bench to court, we all contributed a lot and we all won it together.”
Mack said he was proud of the team’s performance under pressure.
“When we play our game, that’s what happens,” Mack said. “All that hard work in the offseason, until the pre-season of the COVID season… it feels good.”
Deseret News All Tournament Team
MVP – Alexandra Trussell, Morgan
Janel Blazzard, Morgan
Elena Birkeland, Morgan
Baylee Jacobson, Emery
Tambree Tuttle, Emery
Tatum Tanner, Emery