High school girls basketball: Syracuse Titans move into the second round of the state playoffs with a convincing 61-30 victory over the Roy Royals

High school girls basketball: Syracuse Titans move into the second round of the state playoffs with a convincing 61-30 victory over the Roy Royals

by James Tate

The 2023 UHSAA Mountain America Credit Union 6A Girls Basketball State Championship tournament tipped off with eight first-round matchups.

It was deja vu for the Royals

The #23 seed Royals were looking to avenge last season’s opening round 50-21 playoff loss to the Titans. The #10 seed Titans ensured that would not happen by jumping out on a 16-0 lead to open the game. The Titan’s defensive pressure forced the Royals into turnovers early and made layups on the offensive end. The Royals were missing the inside presence of their second leading rebounder and top shot blocker, sophomore Jerzee Hart. The Titans trio of sophomore Ariah Hacker, junior Cortnie Barker, and junior Rochelle Afo Manuma controlled the paint the entire game.

Titan’s junior Avery Sanders led the scoring in the first quarter with seven points as the Titans led 23-6. Scoring for the Royals came from three-point baskets by senior Rhylee Beise and sophomore Iva Hunt.

Titan’s defensive pressure

The second quarter saw the Royals insert freshman point guard Jazzi Prieto. Prieto would give the Royals an initial spark by converting a layup to open the quarter. Titan’s junior guard Ariah Peterson would respond with a jumper to make the score 25-8 with 6:25 on the clock. Then Royal’s senior guard Lylian Rosenberg made a three-point basket for a 25-11 score at the 6:13 mark. The Titans would score the following six points on a layup by freshman guard Maylee Anderson, then two free throws and a layup by Barker.

With 2:52 left before halftime, Royal’s senior Taylor Butterfield made a free throw, and Sanders made two free throws for the Titans for a 33-12 score. With a minute left before halftime, the score stood at 33-12; Royal’s junior forward Sienna Bodily made a three-point shot. Barker made a layup for the Titans to end the quarter with a 20-point lead for Titans 35-15.

Peterson leads Titans’ offensive surge in the second half

The Titans outscored the Royals 22-7 in the third quarter and essentially put the game away. Peterson led the scoring in the quarter with seven points for the Titans.

The fourth quarter began with Syracuse leading 57-22. The Royals outscored the Titans in the final quarter 8-4 behind a layup and two free throws by sophomore Sienna Sanchez. Overall, the Titans got points from nine different players in the contest. At the final buzzer, the Titans captured the first-round playoff victory 61-30 over the Royals. Syracuse moves into the second round with their next game at the #7 seed Copper Hills Grizzlies.

Outstanding performances

Peterson and Barker led the Titans in scoring with 13 points each. Outstanding team defense and rebounding were vital for the Titans in the home win.

Beise was the Royals leading scorer with six points. Rosenberg and Butterfield chipped in five points each. The Titans and Royals are both young teams and will return everyone except for five total players.

Other 6A first-round scores

(13) American Fork Cavemen 62
(20) Clearfield Falcons 33

(9) West Panthers 55
(24) Kearns Cougars 31

(16) Corner Canyon Chargers 63
(17) Pleasant Grove Vikings 49

(15) Bingham Miners 49
(18) Cyprus Pirates 35

(14) Farmington Phoenix 61
(19) West Jordan Jaguars 28

(11) Riverton Silverwolves 55
(22) Weber Warriors 45

(12) Taylorsville Warriors 45
(21) Layton Lancers 47

photos courtesy James Tate

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