Emily Cox guards a Union player during the game on Saturday.
Carbon's Tia Pappas looks to pass during the game with Union on Saturday night at the Dino's gym. Pappas led the Lady Dinos to victory with 16 points.tline
In early December the Lady Dinos dominated the Union Cougars with a 56-28 win. Much has changed for Union since then. They have been steadily getting better and came close to knocking off the likes of powerhouse teams like Wasatch and Judge. The Cougars entered the house of Dinos on Saturday ready to take down Carbon and go into the state playoffs.
But Carbon had been doing their homework and were ready. They survived a physical brawl and moved on with a 49-35 win over the much improved girls from Roosevelt.
Both teams started off cold offensively. The Dinos had several wide open shots on fast breaks that just wouldn't fall through the iron. Still the Lady Dinos had a slim four point edge at the first break.
The second quarter left the Dinos a bit short handed. Samantha Smith picked up her third foul and had to sit. Julia Potts was hit in the thigh by an elbow and left the game with spasms. The rest of the team just picked up the slack and kept fighting. They increased the lead to six going into the locker room at half time.
Scoring remained hard to come by for both teams in the third period as the defenses put up any barrier they could to stop the other team. Bodies and balls flew all over and throughout the second half.
Each team had a parade of trips to the foul line. It was hard for either team to convert with an inside game. Carbon had the better hand from outside and slowly began putting the game in their pocket with some well timed threes.
The Lady Dinos were also able to hit at least one shot each time they went to the line, Union did not. Carbon proved they were still the better team as they finished up with a 14 point cushion and a date with Grantsville in the state 3A tournament on Thursday night.
Tia Pappas led the scoring with 16 points.
Coach Cami Carlson was happy to have the game over and to have gathered in the win.
"Union was a much tougher team than when we saw them in December," she stated. "We did our scouting and had heard about them being ahead in both of their games with Wasatch and Judge until the final two minutes. Those are two of the top ranked teams. So we knew what was in store. We knew it would be physical. I am happy that our girls kept working hard the whole game and matched the intensity out there."
She also said she thought the Lady Cougars were a tough nut to crack before the state tournament.
"I think we pulled the toughest play-in game in the pairings," said Carlson. "Union has really improved and I am really glad to get this one behind us."
Carbon will play their next game at the E-Center in West Valley City. They will face off against the Cowgirls at 4 p m.
The Grantsville team has been rated as one of the top five 3A teams most of the season. Carbon beat Grantsville in a preseason match-up in January on the Cowgirl's home turf.