There was more than one game this season when Morenci’s girls came through as the third-quarter team. Coach Tim Yatzek hoped that’s what he was about to see Thursday at the Class D state semifinals.
After a couple of missed shots by Bark River-Harris, Morenci’s Tess Ramsey grabbed an offensive rebound and put it through the hoop.
Half a minute later, Matea Garcia hit a jumper and the Bulldogs were down by eight points, 32-24.
“I thought it was going to be another big third quarter at first,” Yatzek said, but he soon found it wasn’t to be.
The Broncos followed with a three-pointer, then a steal and layup. Brooke Bovee pulled in a defensive rebound and drove the court for a layup to make it an 11-point game, 37-26, with 5:27 to play in the third.
But that’s about all the Bulldogs could take of the Broncos’ fast-paced game. Nearly everybody on the floor for Morenci was turning the ball over. Sloppy passes, missed shots, slow under the boards—everything went against the Bulldogs, which only boosted the Broncos’ enthusiasm.
Morenci never scored again in the quarter while Bark River-Harris went on a 16-0 rampage to take the contest way out of reach.
“I think we used up so much energy in the first two minutes of the quarter that we were gassed,” Yatzek said. “The Broncos executed their game plan very well.”
Bark River-Harris ran the Bulldogs to death and ran away with the semifinal title, 66-44.
“It’s not an in-your-face press, but it makes you run,” Yatzek said. “Besides, they had some girls who could really put the ball in the hole.”
Tompkins hit three buckets in the final quarter and Bovee added five points, but the Bulldogs trimmed little off the Broncos’ big lead.
In the first quarter, Morenci jumped to a 9-2 lead on two jumpers by Tompkins, a three-pointer by Garcia and a layup from Ramsey. The Broncos fired up and took a 16-15 first-quarter lead, despite three more buckets from Tompkins.
In the second quarter, Morenci added only two points from the line before Garcia sank a three-pointer with 1:33 to play. The Broncos took a 10-point lead into intermission before resting up for the decisive third quarter.
Morenci ended the game with 28 turnovers.
A big loss but...
“I’ve never had so much fun playing or coaching,” Coach Yatzek said about the post-season play. “It was awesome.”
He knows the team is disappointed in the outcome at Breslin Center, but he figures a couple years down the road the girls will look back on the season and realize what they achieved especially entering the tournament with a 9-10 record.
“It’s a huge accomplishment for them,” he said.
Only one other Morenci team—the 1974 girls—has advanced to the semifinals.