The Kanab Cowgirls gave it all they had, but came up just short in the 2A State Basketball Championship game against Delta last Saturday night in Richfield.

Kanab head coach Mickey Houston said the girls just ran out of gas in the final minutes. It was their third game in three days.

A Shaylee McDonald “shake and bake” move ended with a basket to get Kanab within two points, 36-34, with 4:38 left in the game. The Cowgirls later had the ball under their own basket when Delta stole the in-bounds pass and moved the ball upcourt quickly with Harlee Willoughby scoring on a three-point play. Instead of tying the game with a basket, Kanab now trailed 39-34 with 4:07 to go. After another Delta steal, Haylee Sorensen hit a three-pointer from the corner and it was over, as the Rabbits took an insurmountable 42-34 lead with 3:28 left. Kanab could not buy a basket in the final minutes and lost the big game 45-37.

The title contest was a game of runs by both teams. Delta started the game with a 7-0 run before Kanab would get on the scoreboard on a Kaitlin Glover bucket at the 5:24 mark. Two Glover free throws and a fast break layup by Kaitlin and Kanab closed the deficit to 10-6.

Delta then ran off five straight, before Kanab had their own little 8-0 run, to get within a point, 15-14, early in the second quarter. The score stayed close and Kanab trailed by two 19-17 with 2:50 left until the half. Delta closed out the second stanza with another 7-0 run, to lead 26-17 at the break.

Kanab started out red hot in the third period, as they ran off 10 straight points, to take their first lead of the game 27-26. Glover scored on a lay-up, with the assist going to McDonald on a nice feed to Kaitlin.

Delta tied the game at 27-27 on a free throw at the 4:24 mark, as Kanab held the Rabbits scoreless for almost four minutes. Willoughby was fouled on a putback attempt and made one of two charity tosses to give Delta the lead. A Delta three-pointer from Dani Finlinson and they led 31-27. Aliesha Houston drilled a three to cut it to 31-30 with :33 left in the third. With the clock winding down, the fans from Delta started a countdown and Finlinson threw up a wild three just before the horn sounded to end the third quarter. The shot somehow went in and Delta led 34-30 heading into the final period.

A McDonald drive and layup, followed by a 12 foot jumper by Delta’s Sidney Springer, set he stage for the final four minutes of the game.

Kaitlin Glover led Kanab with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Glover and Shaylee McDonald were named to the all-tournament team, along with three Delta Rabbits,

Kanab’s first game of the tournament on Thursday evening was against South Summit. A low scoring first quarter ended tied at 8-8. The Cowgirls’ big shot of the quarter was a three-pointer by Lacey Glover.

Kanab started the second stanza with a 6-0 run on two Kaitlin Glover buckets and a driving layup by McDonald, as she weaved through three Wildcat defenders to the hoop. This gave the Cowgirls a 14-8 lead with 4:17 left. South Summit answered and Kanab led 15-13 at the 2:18 mark. McDonald stole the ball and drove the length of the court, getting fouled on the drive. She made both free throws. With 1:05 left until the half, Aliesha Houston drove the lane and banked in a short jumper for a 19-13 Cowgirl lead. South Summit answered with a bucket and it was 19-15 at the break.

Kanab started the third quarter strong, with KC Houston hitting a three from the wing. Then she stole the ball and laid it in for a 24-17 Kanab lead. Once again South Summit answered the call, with two free throws, followed by back-to-back jumpers from Sierra Davis, and suddenly it was 24-23. Four Kaitlin Glover free throws wrapped around a rebound putback by South Summit and Kanab led 28-25. A three pointer by South Summit tied it up and a ten footer by the Wildcats gave them a 30-28 lead heading into the final period of play.

Kanab came right back on two Aliesha Houston free throws and a nice fast break from Glover to McDonald to Channing Jackson for the layup. Kaitlin added a rebound putback to give Kanab a 34-30 lead. A three-pointer by the Wildcats cut it to one point, before Kanab ran off six straight points to lead 40-33. McDonald hit two free throws and Kaitlin Glover converted a layin on a nice feed from KC Houston. Another KC assist to Jackson ended in another layup, for a seven point lead with 1:25 left in the game.

After the Wildcats’ Josie Grajek converted a three point play, the Cowgirl lead was back to four, 40-36. KC Houston was fouled and converted both free throws on a one-and-one to push the lead to six with :55 left on the clock. The Wildcats’ Rachel Rydalch hit a three from the corner to cut it to 42-39. Aliesha Houston was fouled with :26 left and made one of two. After Grajek was called for an offensive foul with :11 left, Kanab ran out the clock to win 43-39.

Kaitlin Glover scored 13 points and had five boards, while McDonald and my player-of-the-game, KC Houston, netted eight apiece, while Aliesha Houston added seven.

With the big win on Thursday, Kanab faced North Sevier on Friday. Once again, Kanab started the game sluggishly, as the Wolves’ Hailey Higgs scored the first six points of the game. Aliesha Houston put Kanab on the scoreboard with a three-pointer at the 5:29 mark for the first Cowgirl points. Thirty seconds later, Aliesha hit another three to make it 8-6. A three from North Sevier’s Meisha Johnson made it 11-6, before two quick baskets by Kanab cut the lead to 11-10. North Sevier answered with two baskets of their own to lead 15-10 after one.

Two three-pointers and another basket and suddenly North Sevier led 23-10 early in the second. With 5:45 left until the half, North Sevier led 25-13. A furious finish saw Kanab outscore the Wolves 16-3 in those final minutes to lead 29-28 at the half. Aliesha Houston and McDonald both hit big threes in the closing seconds with Shaylee’s coming at the buzzer. The game stayed close throughout most of the third quarter, with neither team having more than a two-point lead until a last second free throw gave the Cowgirls a 44-41 lead heading into the final period. Lacey Glover hit three free throws when she was fouled on a long range attempt with 1:30 left in the third to give Kanab a 43-41 lead.

Kaitlin Glover came up big in the fourth quarter, getting big rebound after big rebound, with several putbacks. With two minutes left, North Sevier’s Higgs made two free throws and the Cowgirl lead was 52-49. After a Wolves’ steal and Cowgirl foul, they missed two free throws. Kaitlin rebounded the last miss and Kanab stalled down to the 1:10 mark when they called timeout. The Cowgirls took more time off the clock before they shot it. North Sevier rebounded the ball and Higgs was fouled . She converted the one-and-one and the Kanab lead was now one point, 52-51, with :44 left to play. McDonald hit Kaitlin Glover with a nice dish and she laid it in to make it 54-51. North Sevier missed a three-point try and during the scramble for the rebound, Shaylee and a North Sevier girl knocked heads. Kanab got possession of the ball and ran the clock down to :03 when McDonald was fouled. She made both free throws to make the final score 56-51 in a real barn-burner.

McDonald put up 22 points to lead Kanab, while Glover had a huge game with 20 points and 18 rebounds. Aliesha Houston sank three treys for nine points.

Kanab finished the season with a 21-3 record. Their only losses came at the hands of Delta, the 2A champions, and Panguitch, the undefeated 1A champs