BUCKLEY — Gaylord St. Mary only scored 39 points in Thursday’s Class D regional final at Buckley.
And the Snowbirds didn’t care.
“I told the girls at halftime, ‘I don’t care if we win 30-15, we’re going to win a regional championship,’” St. Mary coach Dan Smith said.
The Snowbirds were able to contain Bear Lake’s formidable front line and post a low-scoring 39-23 victory to give the school its first back-to-back regional championships since the 2001 and 2002 seasons. St. Mary scored 60 in its regional semifinal win, and Bear Lake hit for 50.
Faced with 5-10 Hannah Harrington and 6-1 Emileigh Ferguson, the Snowbirds countered with shorter defenders in Mary Spyhalski and Sarah Long, but that didn’t seem to matter all that much.
Between those two stopping Ferguson and Harrington from taking control of the game inside and the St. Mary guards forcing 25 turnovers with pressure, the Snowbirds’ defense came up huge in the win.
“I couldn’t be more proud of those girls taking care of things on the perimeter,” Smith said. “And then Sarah’s job, taking away the easy lob to (Ferguson). We knew she was left-handed and she likes to finish left. That’s why we put Sarah on the baseline, to take that away, and we had Mary on the back side to help.”
St. Mary’s guards — Kari Borowiak, Jada Bebble and Christina Smith — also committed only six turnovers.
“We definitely wanted to pressure them,” said Borowiak, who had six points, six assists and seven steals. “That’s probably one of our biggest advantages against teams. We work hard the whole game, and when we get our defense going, that usually fuels our offense.”
When Bear Lake was able to force it in to Ferguson, the Snowbirds doubled down and were able to tie her up and force several jump balls.