West Jordan • The final score indicates another stingy performance by Cottonwood's girls' basketball team. A closer look reveals just how much adversity the Colts had to overcome in Thursday's game with Copper Hills.
Despite committing 29 turnovers, Cottonwood finally broke through in the second half to defeat the host Grizzlies 37-27. Rebecca Bromley-Dulfano and Nichole Kristensen combined to score 18 points off the bench for the Colts, who improved to one game over .500 (4-3) in Region 3 action.
"I don't feel it was an ugly win because I don't like the word," Cottonwood's Kari Uncles said. "It just wasn't how we usually play. You just have to keep your composure that's the key word. Your team has to have composure, too."
The Colts, who boast the second-best scoring defense among 5A schools next to Bingham (37 points per game), appeared out of sync and out of sorts. But so were the Grizzlies, who committed 28 turnovers and led just 11-9 at halftime. Both teams rushed into their offenses, making poor decisions with the ball.
Cottonwood finally got things settled in the second half, putting together a 13-4 run that stretched over three quarters to take its first lead (15-14).
"We were trying to calm down, execute our offense and not get so antsy," Colts coach Janae Hirschi said. "It was becoming street ball. Our guards had a rough time executing our offense. Once we calmed down and didn't force anything, we started to roll. It's much easier to play that way."
Hirschi noted the effort her team displayed two nights earlier in a 56-50 victory over Alta, saying her team was "exhausted."
"We weren't ready to go from tipoff," Hirschi said. "It's hard when you're tired to keep chipping away. Credit goes to Copper Hills; their game plan was good. Once we started to roll, we got more confident, too."
Meanwhile, Bromley-Dulfano and Kristensen were the spark Cottonwood needed. Bromley-Dulfano had seven points and 10 rebounds while Kristensen scored all 11 of her points in the second half, including a pair of 3-pointers.
"If those girls don't step up, we don't win," Hirschi said.
Kristensen's 3-pointer capped a 20-4 run that helped the Colts open an eight-point lead. Following a three-point play by Copper Hills' Yarima Gutierrez, Kristensen answered with another 3 to open the fourth quarter. Still, the Grizzlies (2-5 region) were within five points (32-27) late in the game.
Kristensen, Uncles and Bromley-Dulfano combined to make 5 of 6 free throws in the final minute while holding the Grizzlies scoreless.
"It gets frustrating, but you have to keep your cool," Uncles said. "If you're a leader on the team and they see you get frustrated, they will too."
Uncles finished with seven points, eight rebounds and eight steals for Cottonwood. Gutierrez had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Copper Hills.