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Third place goes to Lady Dinos: Carbon takes two of three games at state tournament

Samantha Smith looks to pass during game with Grantsville.
Patricia Smith and a Wasatch player seem surprised to see the ball during a quarterfinal game on Friday.
A Lady Dino is surrounded by Grantsville players during a game that Carbon won 54-44 during state play.


It is all a matter of perspective.

The Carbon High Lady Dinos came home in third place from the 3-A state basketball tournament on Saturday night. They should be happy and also proud of the effort the team put forth in winning two of three ball games at the E Center in West Valley City.

But are they happy or are the sad? Maybe it is a little bit of both as they beat up on Grantsville 54-44 on Thursday, fell to a very good Wasatch team 40-21 on Friday and finally found their way to a third place finish on Saturday with a 39-27 victory over the Judge Lady Bulldogs.

After finishing second in region contests, Carbon had a tough draw on the first day, as they would start play at the E Center with the winner of Region 11's Grantsville, a team the Dinos had defeated earlier in the season.

Carbon did well with this draw.

Going into the game, Carbon's defensive game plan was to deny the Cowboy's best player the ball as much as possible. On offense, Coach Cami Carlson thought the Dinos could move the ball quickly around the exterior and find open shots. Both ploys were successful as Carbon pulled the upset and won the game.

Carbon hit eight three-pointers in the win and held Grantsville's Sammie Jensen to eight points through three quarters of play as the Lady Dinos built as much as a 13-point lead. Julia Potts was absolutely fantastic in this ball game as she hit four three-pointers, was 13 for 17 at the free throw line and scored 27 points. Potts also played some pretty good defense. In the fourth quarter with the game on the line, Potts made 10 of 12 at the line. Carbon wanted the win and they were not going to be denied.

Carbon led 13-9 after the first quarter and 27-18 at the half as Samantha Smith made three straight 3-point shots in the second quarter. Carbon then led 38-28 after three periods. Tia Pappas played well on both ends of the court and finished in double figures with 10 points.

On Friday, Carbon faced defending champion Wasatch and never could quite get in rhythm in this ball game. The Lady Dinos only trailed 7-3 after the first quarter but never found their offensive game. Against Wasatch, Carbon was 0 for 19 from behind the 3-point line and only 7 for 46 from the field. Fifteen percent shooting usually does not win a ball game.

On Saturday, Carbon came back after the loss and defeated a good Judge Memorial team. Sophomore Tia Pappas played well both offensively and defensively and led the team in scoring with 13 points.

After the game Carlson had praise for her team.

"I was nervous about Judge's inside game going in," she noted. " I started two post players today instead of one and I thought they did well with their play against the bigger Judge players. This was a great performance after what happened yesterday. Although our defense was pretty good against Wasatch, we did hold Parker in check. Our offense was.....well, good luck in describing that about the Wasatch game. I was proud that the girls came to play today against Judge. They showed up and we won because they did."

The score in the final game was 5-2 after the first quarter as neither team could muster any offense. Two baskets by Pappas was the Dino scoring in that first period against two free throws for the Bulldogs. Carbon did win the second quarter 9-6 to lead at the half 14-8.

After another slow scoring period with Judge winning the third quarter 8-7, everybody suddenly came alive in the fourth quarter and Carbon won that final quarter 18-11 to grab the win.

Patricia Smith scored nine points, sister Samantha Smith scored seven points, Julia Potts scored six points and Brittni Greenwood and Emily Cox each scored two points. In the game, Carbon was 11 for 12 at the free throw line and made all eight attempts in the final quarter.

"Tia was our strongest player today," stated Carlson. "Not only was she our leading scorer, she was tough on the boards as she came down with rebound after rebound. Tia was fearless from the start and was definitely our player of the game. I think she will provide great leadership in the future."

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