The Canyon View Lady Falcons would have loved to have taken the short drive to the Dixie Center in St. George this week to further their state championship dreams. It would have seemed so convenient and so right.
Problem for them was that they had to drive 250 miles north before they could make that drive and they found when they got there that no matter how tough a lot of people think Region 9 is, they were still not quite as good a team as the Lady Dinos were, as the kids from Carbon eliminated Canyon View from the first round of the state tournament 46-34.
However, even though Carbon fans were thrilled about their team making the trip to the Dixie State College on Thursday, it was not pretty and the Lady Dinos had better take stock of themselves before they make the trip because they certainly can't play the way they did at home against the Lady Falcons against Bear River on Thursday afternoon at 4:10 p.m. or their dreams of a state championship will be short lived.
Canyon View, the fourth place team from their region apparently didn't know that teams that finish that low are supposed to rollover and play dead. They did everything they could to win this game, and there were several times in the contest when it looked like they could. While they never led in the game, they were almost always right there after the first quarter, ready to take advantage of the Dinos uncustomary poor play.
Carbon, who have played in the warm sunlight of a weak region this year, appeared to expect the Lady Falcons from Cedar City to be much like Delta or North Sanpete; almost everyone expected a 30 or 40 point win based on Canyon Views 4-6 record in Region 9 and 11-9 record overall. It looked like a sure thing; another game against the likes of the Tooele or Uintah victories in the preseason.
But it wasn't that way at all. For one thing Carbon seemed to have a hard time finding the basket. But don't blame it all on the Lady Dinos; these girls from Iron County did some good things, one of which was slowing the game down to the point where the Lady Dinos could not do their famous thefts of the ball and run down the court for a score. The tactic seemed to affect the Lady Dinos in all aspects of their game. Carbon's defense was still good, that is what probably won the game for them, but offensively there were few screens and many easy missed shots.
If Bear River had a scout in the audience, he or she certainly took note of how to disrupt the Carbon offense, because Canyon View seemed to be able to do it time and time again.
The game began slowly as both teams struggled just a little for the first couple of minutes. Then the Lady Dinos broke away to a big lead and it did look a lot like the beatings they handed some non-region opponents early in the season. At the end of the quarter the Dino gym was rockin' and fans were waiting for the 19-8 score to turn into 80 to 40 by the end of the contest. It looked like another big blowout in typical Dino fashion.
However, that is when Canyon View changed their game, and Carbons in the process. They must have talked to Snow Canyon about the victory they achieved against the Lady Dinos earlier this year because they started to play in much the same way; deliberate and to a large extent slow. The second quarter looked like the Battle of the Marne in World War I; trench warfare with both teams attacking but neither gaining much ground. In the end Canyon View had actually held Carbon to 7 points, less than Chelsey Warburton usually gets in a quarter by herself. Meanwhile the the Lady Falcons had not done much better, but they had done better. They had scored 10.
Still behind going into the locker room, they had to take strength from the thought that they had held down the third and ninth leading scorers in the state. Carbon fans saw the whole thing as an aberration; surely the girls with the white and blue uniforms on would come out and blow these no-names from Cedar City away in usual fashion and all the home town fans could go home happy.
But the Lady Falcons still winged their way in the same direction. They did not out score the Lady Dinos in the third quarter, but they did not let the kids from Carbon score much on them either. The second quarter had been anemic for Carbon and the third period wasn't much better as they posted only 11 points, three better than the kids from Iron County.
In fact the fourth period was worse for the Carbon girls. Canyon View started out the quarter very strong and got the score within two points, a small deficit which they held onto for what seemed an eternity. But a hero for Carbon finally did emerge in the last four minutes, help to put the game away for good. That was freshman Morgan Warburton.
Her older sisters had had a tough time of it this evening. Chelsey's scoring was well below normal and sister Cassie, whose hard nose play usually gets her a bushel of points, had not had a normal game. Canyon View had taken the two older Warburtons' seriously and done much to foul up their trips down court. But Morgan was a new entity which they seemed to know little about.
The Falcons laid a big egg on that one.
Morgan not only popped in a three pointer toward the end of the game, but she muscled in a two pointer from the right side after a rejection by a Canyon View player; that also set her up for a foul shot. Then she began to run the offense from the point guard position and controlled the ball very well. Finally she also blocked two shots the Falcons casted up in the last two minutes preserving the victory for the Lady Dinos. But even with these heroics, the Carbon squad still only managed nine points in the final quarter.
As Carbon fans hoped this was only a down game for the Lady Dinos and not shades of things to come, reflection must be made on how the rest of the state Region 8 teams fared on Saturday night. Carbon will be the only representative left when the games start on Thursday. Snow Canyon more than doubled up on Emery 51-25, Hurricane crushed Lehi 50-35 and Dixie disassembled Delta 74-35. These scores show the weakness of a state playoff system that lets just about everyone into the tournament in the first round.
Carbon is actually in the "easy" bracket if there is such a thing. Wasatch and Morgan, considered the two biggest powers in the state this year, are in the lower bracket. In facing Bear River they face a team that beat Morgan just last week and unseated them from their lofty top team ranking in the state. The Lady Bears are a tough team led by the second leading scorer in the state 6'1" Courtnie Woemer. Carbon's speed and agility should win out, but only if they play their best. The Tremonton's team record is 19-3.
In other games on Thursday Snow Canyon (21-1) (also in Carbon's bracket) will play Union (15-7) at 5:50 p.m.
In the lower bracket Wasatch (21-1) takes on hometown Dixie (16-6) at 7:30 p.m. and not-to-far-away-from-St. George Hurricane (17-6) hooks up with Morgan (18-2) for the night cap at 9:10 p.m.
If Carbon gets by Bear River, they could have a chance to make up for a loss in the Emery Tournament to Snow Canyon.
To beat Bear River, Carbon must be at the top of their game. This is what they have worked for all season; it is also what they have been after since taking second in the state in volleyball.
They want to see Morgan one more time this year.