MILLVILLE — With the Region 11 girls basketball title on the line, it became a one-sided affair Thursday night.
Logan trailed briefly twice in the opening quarter against Ridgeline. But once the Grizzlies started rolling, it was lights out for the Riverhawks.
A big second quarter gave Logan a cushion as it cruised to a 59-44 win and the region championship. Ridgeline was the two-time defending region champs.
“We figured as long as we came out and gave it our all, we would have nothing to regret at the end of the game,” said Grizzly senior Amber Kartchner, who last enjoyed a region title as a freshman when Logan ran the table in league play during the 2017-18 season. “We didn’t want to have any regrets.”
Logan (14-5, 8-2 region) and Ridgeline (14-7, 7-3) will find out who each will face at state Saturday morning. The state tournament brackets will be released at 9 a.m.
“Words are hard right now, but it feels pretty darn good,” first-year Grizzly head coach Morganne Madsen said. “... It was one thing to come out and play a big game tonight, but we need to not settle and stay hungry.”
“We’ve had a really good season,” Riverhawk head coach Ainsli Jenks said. “We told the girls that the only loss that matters is the one that takes you out for the season. We will learn from this loss. Logan came to play.”
In other region action Thursday, the road teams picked up wins, keeping with the theme of the Grizzlies. Sky View was victorious at Mountain Crest, 44-30, and Green Canyon won at Bear River, 58-44, to move into a tie for second.
For the second time this season against Ridgeline, Kartchner had a big game. In the Grizzlies’ 64-54 win earlier this season, she had 29 points and 11 rebounds. Thursday night she finished with a game-best 24 points, six rebounds and three assists. The future BYU Cougar had four 3-pointers and scored at least four points in each quarter.
“I try to approach every game the same, but this is a rivalry game and the region championship, so we were all hyped up,” said Kartchner, who went over 1,600 points for her career on Thursday. “I think the Ridgeline girls would say this too, we like playing each other because it is good competition.”
Jenks is glad Kartchner is a senior: “Amber, if I didn’t love her so much I would be angry that she kicks my butt every time we play them. Amber is a phenomenal player. She does a good job leading that team.”
The Grizzly star had plenty of help. Taylor Rose had a double-double with 14 points and a game-best 11 rebounds. Alec Kennington finished with eight points and a game-high four assists. Six of the seven Grizzlies that played scored.
“The nice thing about our team is they can all step up at different times,” Madsen said. “You never know who is going to knock down a three, or make a big shot.”
Logan won the rebound battle, 37-30, and had more assists. The Grizzlies also netted seven 3-pointers, compared to three by the Riverhawks, who struggled all game to find the bottom of the net.
“It’s a tough match up for us (going against Logan),” Jenks said. “We had a hard time finding the basket tonight. We had a lot of bunnies that wouldn’t fall and couldn’t shoot free throws.”
Free throws were also a challenge for the hosts. Ridgeline missed its first seven foul shots and finished a paltry 1 of 10 for the game. Logan made 6 of 9.
The Riverhawks were led by Sarah Litchford with 12 points, but she had to be helped from the court early in the third quarter with a knee injury and did not return.
“When Sarah went down, that was rough, hard on us,” Jenks said. “Hopefully, she can come back. We will hope it is not terrible. We need to make a run at state.”
Haley Anderson finished with nine points for the Ridgeline as all eight players that saw action scored. Macie Brown and Paige Dahle each had eight rebounds, and Nia Damuni dished out three assists.
It took Logan just eight seconds to get on the scoreboard. Rose drove in for a layup after the visitors controlled the tip. Rose would score six points in the first quarter.
“We all talked about giving it 100 percent no matter what, and we went out and did that,” Rose said. “This is a rivalry game and the most important, so we came out ready to win it.”
Litchford got going in the paint as she had eight points in the opening quarter. After four lead changes, the Grizzlies took a 14-13 lead into the second quarter. Kartchner hit her second trey of the first in the closing seconds to give Logan the lead.
Tawnee Tubbs hit a 3-pointer for the Grizzlies to start the second and they just kept building on their lead. Kartchner drilled another long-range bomb at the end of the first half to cap a 7-0 run and give Logan a 30-19 lead at halftime.
The Grizzlies scored the first five points of the third quarter, and Kartchner fueled a 6-0 surge with two buckets and an assist to give Logan a 41-23 lead midway through the third. The Grizzlies took a 45-30 lead into the final quarter.
Logan’s largest lead, 54-31, came after a 9-0 run. Kartchner, Rose and Kennington scored.
“We lifted each other up and got past all of our flaws,” Rose said. “We went out and executed tonight. Now, we need to bring the fire each game and take it one game at a time.”
As the final minutes ticked off the clock, Grizzly students started chanting “region champs.”
“It felt great (to hear the chant),” Kartchner said. “I’ve played with these girls since eighth grade. They are my best friends, and it is so nice to win region with them.”
After two tough losses last week, the Grizzlies have now won two in a row as they prepare for state.
“We came together as a team and refocused our keys which is rebounding and making each other look good on the court as a team,” Madsen said. “Give credit to the girls for wanting it. We talked about staying hungry and earning everything we get.”
BOBCATS 44, MUSTANGS 30
It was a tight, defensive battle throughout at Hyrum.
Sky View (14-6, 6-4) won three of the quarters and tied in the other, but Mountain Crest (6-15, 1-9) hung tough to the end. The Bobcats held a 13-8 lead after the first quarter and went into halftime up 21-15. Both teams scored eight points in the third.
“Tonight our girls played great defense,” SV head coach Vanessa Hall said. “Mountain Crest is a very scrappy team, and I thought our girls were able to handle the pressure extremely well. Our posts did a great job on the boards and limited their second chance opportunities. It was a great team win and a good way to head into state.”
Hannah Radford had seven of her game-best 19 points in the fourth quarter. She scored in every quarter and had a trio of 3-pointers. Kaytlin Smart added nine points in the low-scoring affair
The Mustangs, losers of seven in a row, were led by freshman Kali Jones with 11 points. Paige LaRocco added 10 points for the hosts.
“Defensively, we did very well tonight,” MC head coach Megan Smith said. “We made some adjustments I thought were really exciting and forced Sky View into some turnovers. Offensively, we didn’t shoot well and in these games you just can’t have three single-digit quarters. I’m excited for the opportunity to compete at state and see what these kids can do.”
WOLVES 58, BEARS 44
Green Canyon kept its momentum going forward in the region finale at Garland.
The Wolves (15-5, 7-3) won every quarter against Bear River (6-15, 1-9) and have now won four in a row. They finish in a tie with Ridgeline for second place in the region standings.
“This was a battle,” GC head coach Alexis Bird said. “We knew Bear River would give us a good game. I’m proud of the adjustments our girls made in the second half, especially on defense.”
The Wolves took a slim 20-18 lead into halftime. They doubled their offensive output in the third quarter and went to the final period with a 40-29 advantage. Green Canyon, who had eight 3-pointers in the contest, finished strong and made 20 of 27 free throws for the game.
Maren McKenna and Landree Spackman led the Wolves with 19 points each. McKenna was 6 of 9 from the field and made all five of her free throws. She also had three assists. Spackman netted five 3-pointers, dished out two assists and came up with three steals. McKenna Crane led Green Canyon in rebounding with five and also chipped in nine points.
Olivia Taylor led the Bears with 18 points.