OGDEN -- Sporting a front line of three girls six feet or taller, the Desert Hills Thunder basketball team is one imposing group.
So intimidating are the Thunder that the Morgan Trojans didn't manage a single point in the first quarter Thursday night, while Desert Hills dropped in 10. That early deficit, too much for the Trojans to overcome, led to a 42-20 victory for Desert Hills in the nightcap of the 3-A state basketball tournament at the Dee Events Center.
Haley Bodnar (6-foot-3), Kassidy Cox (6-2) and Emily Seifert (6-0) -- all juniors -- combined to score 19 points, grab 13 rebounds, block three shots and keep Morgan's normally strong inside game out of the paint.
Adding to Morgan's frustration was its inability to hit outside shots and bring the Desert Hills bigs away from the basket.
"I give Desert Hills credit," Morgan coach Brad Matthews said. "They are big and they are strong. But we didn't show up. We just weren't here. I don't think a Morgan team should ever be intimidated by anybody. But (the Thunder) play a tough 2-3 defense. That is one tough defense right there. We weren't getting open looks inside or outside. Nothing was open."
After trailing by as many as 14 early in the third quarter, the Trojans managed to cut the Thunder lead to eight with three minutes to play in the period, but that run was promptly followed by 10 straight points by the Thunder, who ended the quarter with an 18-point lead.
The 20 points were easily the fewest scored by Morgan in a game this season. Lisa VanCampen scored six points to lead the Trojans. McKenzie Schenk added five points and 12 rebounds.
"I was proud of the way the girls battled back in that third quarter," Matthews said. "We got to within eight and the girls were excited. But then a couple of things didn't go our way and it kind of took the air out of us."
With the loss, Morgan saw its 17 game winning streak snapped and watched its championship aspirations get bumped into the consolation bracket. Morgan will face Delta on Friday at 11:10 a.m. Desert Hills (21-2) will battle fellow Region 9 foe Snow Canyon in the semifinals. All four semifinalists are from Region 9.