|Julia Potts gets by the defense during the state tournament in St. George. Potts is a sophmore this year.|
Months ago, first year head coach Cami Carslson predicted that despite not having any seniors on the team, there was enough talent and determination that they should make it to the playoffs. Not too many others gave the team much of a chance. But despite all odds they almost took home a state title.
After a tough three games, each going down to the wire, the Carbon girls team came home with a well earned third place finish. They missed going to the title game by a few seconds and a few points.
After beating Tooele at home the Dinos headed down to Dixie to take on Canyon View on Thursday night. It was a low scoring affair. Neither team shooting exceptionally well. Carlson knew it would be a tough game. "They are a lot like us," she remarked, "tough on defense and low scoring." Canyon View had done their homework as well and put pressure on both Megan Garvin and Julia Potts. With Potts and Garvin being over played, Carbon looked for others who could step up and produce. Patricia Smith filled those shoes and had the best night of her life, hitting 18 points.
Still the game was tied at the end of regulation at 27. Smith again stepped up and went 4-4 at the line in the final period of play to help the Dinos down Canyon View and move on to the semi-final round. Final score was 36-30 in favor of the Dinos.
Dixie had the Dinos in their sights next. The Dinos came out hard and took a first half lead. They completely shut out Dixie from scoring in the second quarter of play. With a size advantage, Dixie was able to out rebound the shorter Dinos. Even though it appeared that Dixie was reaching over the backs of the much smaller Carbon players, no fouls were called. At the half Dixie changed up their defense from a zone to man to man and it seemed to throw off of the Dino players.
Still Carbon held on to a lead into the waning moments of the game. Dixie fouled Julia Potts who missed the front end of a one and one. Garvin rebounded and was fouled. She missed as well and then Carbon fouled Dixie. Dixie hit their free throws in the final seconds of play to put them over the top and into the Championship game. The Dinos would have to settle for a chance at third. Final Dixie 32, Carbon 29.
"We have won so many games in the final seconds at the line." reflected Carlson, "I wondered if our luck had finally run out. If I had to choose who would go to the line in the final seconds of a game, it would be Potts, Garvin of Patricia Smith."
Garvin was the leading scorer for Carbon with 10.
Now it would be up to the team to gather themselves and face Wasatch who had beaten them by 10 earlier in the season. Wasatch didn't even have their best player in that game.
"I wasn't sure how out team would respond to playing a team that had beaten them earlier right after such a close loss." Carlson remarked. But the little team that could, did what they did all season and bounced right back to play their hearts out.
Knowing they needed to play strong, Carbon built up an early lead. Each time they built up a lead, Wasatch chiseled away and pulled it close. As the game drew to a close, Wasatch had tied it up. Julia Potts took the ball and drove straight into a crowd of defenders. With seconds left, Potts kicked it out to an open Samantha Smith who hit her only two points on the night. It was the winning basket. Garvin and Patricia Smith led the team with 14 points each.
"Our girls would never say die," boasted Carlson. "Every time they would get down they would say how we have to pick ourselves back up. They kept their heads."
After the final game the team gathered to talk about the season and contemplate next year. Carlson told them. "No one expected us to be here and look how close we came to being in the championship game."
She is hoping that next year they will be the ones sitting at the top.
"If we really stay close and work hard in the off season we can make it happen," said Carlson.
The team will not lose any of their players to graduation this year and all of the squad is planning on returning to play again next year.