MORGAN -- Good luck, Region 10.
After dominating the competition during an incredibly challenging preseason, the Morgan Trojans are all set for region, and their opponents may not have much of a chance.
The Trojans (12-1) finished up their non-league slate on Thursday night with an impressive 80-53 win over rival Bear River. Morgan's only defeat during the preseason was a three-point loss to Timpview, one of the top 4-A teams in the state. The Trojans went 6-1 against 4-A teams overall.
Against the Bears, Morgan rolled out to a 13-0 lead before giving up nine straight points. But the Trojans led by seven points after one period, by 23 at halftime, and 33 at the end of the third quarter. Morgan was up by 38 points midway through the fourth period before the Bears ended the game with an 11-0 run to make the score more respectable.
The Trojans hit shots from all over the court, including nine from beyond the 3-point line, and their relentless defensive pressure ran the Bears ragged. And this is a Bears team that entered the night on a five-game winning streak.
"Our defense really takes a toll (on other teams) after a while," Morgan coach Brad Matthews said. "We really played some good defense today. This team can go pretty deep. It's fun as a coach to be able to look down and see so many girls you can put in and not worry about what you're going to get out of them."
Bears coach Van Park was equally impressed.
"They make you work for everything you get," he said. "I thought we were in pretty good shape but against that kind of depth and that kind of athleticism, it definitely wears on you - mentally as much as physically."
Rashel Blazzard led the Trojans with 19 points, including four 3-pointers, while Breanna Hurlbut added 17. Jessica Carter chipped in with nine points for Morgan, while Kate Blazzard and Savanna Brooks had eight each.
Bear River's Alyssa Park topped all scorers with 20 points, including 12-of-14 from the free throw line. The Bears went 28-of-33 from the line as a team. Sophomore Tamika Rodriguez added eight points.
Both teams now begin region play -- the Trojans in Region 10 and the Bears in Region 11. Matthews believes his players are ready to go.
"We feel like we're playing pretty good right now," Matthews said. "We've got to continue to get better so that we can be ready for the teams in our region and hopefully get better through the end of the season."
Despite the loss, the Bears (8-5) expect to be successful during league competition.
"I've been really pleased with our progress," coach Park said. "We started off really slow, but then went on a five-game win streak before we hit a buzz saw here tonight. I think we're playing with a lot more confidence and we're seeing the floor better. We're coming along and I really like our chances in the region."