BY SHAIN GILLET
Clipper Sports Editor
BOUNTIFUL – Judge Memorial is one of the toughest teams to go up against this season, as evident by its 9-1 overall record entering Tuesday night’s game against Bountiful High School.
But the toughest team on the floor proved to be the Lady Braves, who fell behind in the third quarter but bounced back to beat the Bulldogs 44-33 to remain in a first place tie with the Highland Rams.
“To me, this was a grown-up game for our kids,” Bountiful coach Joel Burton said. “Playing as many sophomores as we do in key positions, it was definitely a statement game. Hopefully this game tells our team that we can compete with every other team in our region.”
The Braves took a slim halftime lead at 18-15 that could have been much larger given Bountiful’s 13-3 first quarter lead. A later charge by Judge Memorial cut the Braves lead, which they lost after the Bulldogs went on a 6-0 run to take a 26-22 lead.
Burton didn’t panic, opting to let the players catch up to the lead rather than call a time out at that point.
“As the season has gone on, I’ve tried to let them play through the inexperience some of them have,” Burton said. “If I called a time out every time we made a goofy play or let our opponent get on a run I’d run out of them within the first few minutes of the game. We’ve gotten pretty good at yelling instructions from the bench too, and they’ve been really good at following them.”
The instructional time late in the third quarter helped, as Tiana Dougher and Kennedy Redding combined to give the Lady Braves a two point lead heading to the final quarter.
“We really felt like Redding was a big difference for us inside,” Burton said. “Having a 6-4, D-I type talent is huge for us. Our goal to keep feeding her, and it worked.”
The duo combined to score 19 of Bountiful’s 26 total points in the second half, and the defense was able to keep Bulldogs’ star Kailie Quinn to eight points on the night.
“We missed both of them for several games during the preseason, and we knew if we could get healthy we could compete in our region,” Burton said. “They’re a big part of this team.”
The Braves didn’t let go of their lead once they had it the second time, going on a 7-2 run to start the fourth quarter and keeping Quinn and Vennessa Austin from getting open shooting chances. It was a plan that worked well, said Burton, given both of their abilities to score.
“Our game plan was to try to get the ball out of Quinn’s hands, and to try to get the rest of the team to beat us,” he said. “She’s one the state leaders in scoring, rebounding … you name it. I thought we did a pretty good job of keeping her in check tonight.”
Redding finished with a double-double on the night, scoring 11 points and pulling down 13 rebounds. Dougher scored 18 points and had eight rebounds.
The win was Bountiful’s fourth straight, and ended the Bulldogs four-game winning streak in the process. Bountiful will face East at East High School Friday at 5:15 firstname.lastname@example.org