Sara Swalberg passes the ball to Jill Vetere.
The Green River Lady Pirates were able to handle the Dugway Lady Mustangs during a play-in game to secure a spot going in as the third place team in region 19 in the 1A State basketball tournament held in Richfield at the Sevier Valley Center. Their tenure was short lived.
The Lady Pirates were slated to play the ICS Lady Lions for the first game, a team they played early in the season at the Valley Buffalo tournament. The result was the same both times with the Pirates not being able to contain their guard play who beat them on fast breaks and on soft outside jump shots.
All five starters plus Jamie Johnson coming off the bench scored but not enough. Sarah Swalberg led all scorers with 19 but no other Lady Pirates were in double figures. The girls fought hard and played to the last minute but weren't able to make up the double digit deficit when the clock ran out. The girls were bummed but figured their best shot at reaching a Saturday game was through the consolation bracket but they first needed to get past a rival, the Tabiona Lady Tigers. The Lady Pirates had twice beaten the Tigers earlier in the season but beating them during post season play was another story.
The game wasn't necessarily fast paced with each team showing strong defense and struggling on offense. The first quarter score was 11-8, Tabiona's favor with the Pirates going one for four at the line while the Lady Tigers went four for eight. The second quarter saw both teams struggling offensively with the Tigers taking a three point advantage into the locker room at half time.
The third quarter saw greater offense with each team gaining 12 points and this continued into the fourth quarter with the Pirates scoring 19 points and the Tigers scoring 18. Was it the fact that Whitney Lefler (# 20) went 10 for 12 at the line in the fourth quarter that made the difference while the Lady Pirates went three for seven but missed on the front end of a one and one two consecutive times? An additional field goal in the first quarter would definitely help, a made free throw here and there (the team went six for 17 at the line) or fouling someone other than #20 for the Lady Tigers may have made the difference.
The loss to the Lady Lions seemed painful to the girls but they had a ton of energy at the beginning of the Tabiona game. They were energized and ready to play but this was Tabiona and beating a team three times in a single season is tough for girls - just ask them. The sting of losing was evident on the faces of the Lady Pirates, especially the senior girls - Courtney Carter, Tracy Engleman and Jill Vetere. It was a great game with lots of energy from both teams and the student section for the Pirates was loud and supportive but not this time, not this year. There will be time for reflection and for retribution next year when it starts all over again with a fresh crop of freshman girls.