As the final seconds of Alta basketball player Makenzi Morrison's high-school career ticked away during a quarterfinal loss to American Fork, the senior guard took one last look back so she could remember the arena, the fans and the pageantry of the sport that she loves.
Morrison thought her duties as a Hawk were complete. But as she entered a locker room filled with teary eyes, she realized she had one more task: to pick up her teammates.
"We had a lot of accomplishments this year and there are so many things to be proud of," Morrison said. "We were region champs this year, so don't look at what you didn't accomplish look at what you did."
In fashion appropriate for last year's Tribune Class 5A MVP, she played her best when the Hawks needed her most. The BYU-bound senior scored 29 of her team's 51 points, but the junior-heavy Caveman squad ended her run with a big fourth-quarter effort.
"It was disappointing and I felt like our team was better than that, but I played hard because I knew this could be it," said Morrison. "I lived every moment of my high-school career and I don't leave with a single regret."
Morrison moved from California in the sixth grade, and Hawks coach Kristi Jensen knew the moment she saw the youngster play that Morrison was gifted.
A starter since her freshman year, Morrison graduates with nearly 1,800 points and more than 500 rebounds, 400 assists and 250 steals to her credit.
"Makenzi never took a day off, never quit fighting, never gave up and did what she had to do to help her team win," said Jensen. "My philosophy as a coach is to always work your butt off, and I feel very lucky to have someone that believed that philosophy. She's just an amazing kid."
Morrison says winning the 2011 state championship is her favorite memory not just for the title win, but also because of the team's journey over the season.
"We got better in practice and improved every game during that run," said Morrison. "To take state, I don't think anything will ever top it. You're on top of the world for a second and that's a great feeling."
Graduating with honors
Alta senior Makenzi Morrison delivered 29 points in a 56-51 quarterfinal loss to American Fork to wrap up a stellar career.
Alta coach Kristi Jensen said Morrison had to take on a more verbal leadership status this season. While it wasn't natural, Jensen thinks that the new-found voice of motivation could help Morrison at the collegiate level.