The Thunder Mountain High School girls basketball team couldn’t recover from a first half in which they committed 22 turnovers in a 52-35 loss to West Valley on the opening night of their Thunder Dome Tournament.
“Single handedly the turnovers were what kicked our butts,” TMHS head coach Tanya Nizich said. “Roughly they scored over 20 points in the first half off our turnovers. We have to be smart and make the easy pass.”
The Falcons began the first period with an errant pass against the Wolfpack press and ended the half with another bad pass and a travel.
The Falcons did battle against a taller West Valley lineup on the boards and held their own. Most of the Thunder Mountain points came on put backs inside.
Ashley Young gave the Falcons the first four points of the game with a put back and two free throws.
West Valley countered with baskets from and Sara Hajdukovich and Hannah Mattson.
Tied at four the West Valley girls began a zone press and Mattson sparked an 11-3 run, scoring six of her eight of her game high 22 points to give the Wolfpack a 15-7 first quarter advantage.
“Our passing put us down,” Falcons guard Sarah Morris said. “We need to come out with more intensity. We were hitting it hard in the second half but we need to do that in the first half.”
Four straight Falcons turnovers at the start of the second period allowed West Valley to take the game momentum. A Wolfpack full court press gave them a 20-7 scoring advantage down the stretch of the period. The Falcons trailed 35-14 at the half.
An energized Falcons team took the floor after the break. After four quick baskets by West Valley’s Mattson and Franz, the Falcons settled down for a 8-2 run on baskets by Eyerus Tingley, Shayla Reeves, Emily Winters and Young to close the third period trailing 43-25.
The two teams battled evenly in the final period, both taking small scoring runs. The Falcons committed just six turnovers in the second half.
“The third and fourth quarter of this game, if we could have two halves like that it would be a totally different game,” Nizich said. “The spark and the energy that they find amongst themselves at a time, their time, we are working on how that spark can get started in the first quarter.”
Young led the Falcons with eight points, Jonelle Staveland had six, Shale Kibby and Noe Maka four apiece, Emily Winters and Siosi Tupo three each, Shayla Reeves, Eyerus Tingley, and Kinsey Marshall two each, and Michaela Demmert one. Callie Franz added nine points for the Wolfpack.
The Falcons were 2-9 from the charity stripe, the Wolfpack were 3-3.
“I thought Thunder Mountain brought it,” West Valley head coach Steve Caciari said. “I thought they hustled and played us very tough. They did some good things out there.”
Palmer girls 56 West girls 51
The Palmer Moose opened the Thunder Dome Tournament with a hard fought 56-51 win over the West Eagles on Friday afternoon.
Taylor Blake scored 10 of her game-high 23 points in a crucial third quarter burst by the Moose that rallied them from a 12-point deficit to trailing by just one point, 43-42, starting the final stanza. The Moose outscored the Eagles 14-8 in the final period.
Kasara Brandenburg added 12 points for Palmer, Rachael Huffman nine, Anna Koehn and Tress Whitfield five apiece, and Kalei DePriest two.
Anastasia LaVern-Tosi led West with 17 points, Chamira Cockerham added 12, Shiccia Harris-Grant six, Chanelle Bookert and Chanelle Zamora five apiece, Aliisa Korkiamaki and Olivia Shields three each.
West connected on just 2 of 17 from the charity stripe, Palmer hit 14 of 20.