COTTONWOOD – The pressure is on … at least that’s what the West Valley girls basketball team applied on Friday night.
Full-court pressing mid first half until the end of the game.
The Eagles defense provided a 35-15 second-half edge to remain unbeaten in Northern Athletic League play on Friday with a 44-31 win over U-Prep.
Sophomore Maddie Bassett said seeing the Panthers in the first-half, led to the second-half adjustments.
“We talked at half about what we as a team need to do better,” she said. “Focusing on their weaknesses and our strengths. We put that together in the second half.”
A low-scoring first quarter saw both teams combine for 11 points and U-Prep led 16-9 at intermission.
The Eagles cranked their defense up a notch in the second half, applying full-court press. West Valley’s pressure keyed an 11-5 edge in the third period.
Maddie Steele’s 3-pointer opened the quarter and a U-Prep turnover resulted in a Bassett layup, an and-1 layup by Arika Baxter, and another post score by Baxter in the quarter, gave the Eagles a 25-21 lead at the end of the period.
A deep, right wing 3-pointer by Bassett capped off a 10-4 run to start the final period as the Eagles extended their lead to double-digits. The win keeps the Eagles unbeaten in Northern Athletic League play at 3-0 (13-7 overall).
Bassett didn’t look like a sophomore on a senior-heavy squad, leading the team in scoring with 14, above her 11.7 points per game average.
“She’s (Bassett) only a sophomore but she looks like a senior,” said West Valley coach Lenny Ehn. “She knows where to be on every play. Just a natural scorer.”
U-Prep allowed a 16-9 first half lead slip away, being outscored 35-15 in the second half. Melanie Lindsey led the Panthers with 14 and Jordan McCoy — coming off a two-game absence had eight points — all in the first half.
“I think, defensively, it was two teams playing really good defense in each half. In the second half they did a really good job at applying pressure and we didn’t do quite as well as we needed to,” Panthers’ coach Steven Schuster said.
West Valley- 5-4-16-19-44
U-Prep (12-8, 2-1 NAL) – Lindsey 14, McCoy 8, Hokanson 3, Kaney 3, Cox 2, Kraft 1.
West Valley (13-7, 3-0 NAL) – Bassett 14, Steele 7, Baxter 7, Wayne 5, Heacock 5, Cramer 2, Johnson 2, Proscher 2.
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