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Kanab High School Girls Basketball takes state for the third year in a row - a Dynasty indeed

There have only been six out of over 200 high school girls’ basketball teams in Utah’s history that have pulled off the infamous three-peat, a trifecta, a triple cheese, a holy-trinity, a three-pence or, in other words, winning three consecutive championships in a row. Now there are seven!

Left to right:

  • The Kanab Lady Cowboys celebrate their rare three-peat by beating North Summit in the championship game. Securing their dynasty as only one of seven high school girls team to pull of the feat out of over 200 high school teams. Photo by Andrea Gilberg.

  • Senior Ashlyn Houston steps up and laser focused dropping in a three-ball. Photo by Jeremy Houston.

  • Senior Anna Cutler hoists the championship trophy over her head. Her jersey number says it all.

If you were in the Centrum Arena on Southern Utah University’s campus last Saturday night after the final buzzer sounded and Queen’s We are the Champions blasted through the arena speakers, you’d hear the word dynasty being whispered among the Kanab faithful. That word hasn’t been used in Kanab for 37 years, when Coach Hafen led Kanab’s football team to three consecutive championships in 1985-1987. To win one championship is tough, to win two in a row is supremely difficult, to pull off back-to-back-to-back is truly THREE-mendous, indeed a dynasty.

After beating Millard at home in the second round, the Cowboys started the championship week off facing off against Enterprise on Thursday evening and were able to send the Wolves home 46-23, setting up a semi-final game against APA Draper. The Lady Cowboys met with a little more challenge against the Eagles, facing the leading scorer in 2A, La La Baldwin.

Head coach Klint Glover said, “In general our coaching philosophy is always to focus on what we do much more than the opponent. Once we get to those last three games though, we add a defensive game plan specific to our opponent and that is what makes the post season so fun. The girls executed this pretty well in each game and I think it made the difference in the outcomes.”

A very strong defensive game plan held the Eagles at bay, with the Cowboys taking a 64-50 victory, giving the Cowboys another championship berth against the #1 seeded North Summit Braves. When asked if he felt like underdogs going into the championship game as the #2 seed, Coach Glover quickly replied, “We were not underdogs. We had beat North Summit earlier in the season as well as the other teams in the tournament and I believe everyone felt like we were the team to beat–including us. This put a little more pressure on us than we wanted, but after the Beaver game in Beaver, I don’t think we were scared of anyone or anything - but losing.”

With some previous rivalry history with the North Summit Braves, the championship game had a lot of buzz, whistling through the stands. Before the Cowboys started their dynasty run, the Braves beat the Cowboys in the championship in 2021, sending the girls home in tears and sadness, this time the tears were coupled with smiles and laughter.

The Cowboys came out super strong and confident, leading 18-7 after the first quarter. Strong bench play, which has given the Cowboys such a dominant team was also seen in the championship game. Coach Glover added, “We had great bench play. Different girls at different times stepped up. Emilie, Haven and Beka have all been impatiently waiting their turn this season, which I love. They were ready to step in and could have played even more. They all showed flashes of what they are capable of. Sidney had been coming along all season, and I expected her to shine too, but what a game for her to be unconscious! I mean the state championship game! I think you’ll see a different team and approach to defense next year with girls like Kenidee, Emilie and Haven picking up full court and harassing teams with their quickness.” The Braves were able to find a few sparks of offense in the second, adding 13 points, closing in on the first quarter lead the Cowboys built up, ending the half with a 32-20 Kanab lead.

Junior Savannah Bateman got hot from the three-point line, dropping in five triples, and the Braves didn’t have an answer for all the Cowboy weapons. The defense on both sides picked up in the second half, until with two minutes remaining the final substitutions happened, the standing ovation from the Kanab faithful fans and a three-peat was all but in the record books. The Cowboys had done it again, for the third time in a row winning 59-47. It was as much as a full team effort as you could see from a 2A team, with nine different players making substantial contributions throughout the season, tournament and the final game. Bateman led all scorers with 15-points and made the all-tournament team, with Senior Ashlyn Houston dropping in 11 points, while providing a huge contribution on the boards with ten rebounds. Sophomore Sidney Dayea had a huge game off the bench with 11 points, outpacing her normal scoring average. Sophomore Rylee Little added a steady 14 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks and was a force to be reckoned with on the offensive and defensive side, and will be striking fear in opponents for years to come. She was named the state tournament MVP. Senior leader Anna Cutler dished out six assists to go along with her four points, controlling the pace of the game like a professional and leading this team to three straight championships. Her presence will be tangibly missed. Junior Taylor Janes dropped in four points and four rebounds, and her hustle, her moves, her strength was a huge addition to the team. Bench players came off the wood, providing a huge defensive spark with Junior Emilie Gilberg, Senior Beka Rogers and Junior Haven Syrett managing the Cowboys lead throughout the game when the starters needed a rest and coach Glover needing a spark, both offensively and defensively, keeping the Braves scoring attack at bay.

When asked how this championship differed from previous two, Coach Glover commented, “Last year’s tournament win was a pleasant semi-surprise. We were a young team with no seniors and pretty open minded going in, knowing that everyone would have another shot next year if we lost. This year I felt much more pressure to make sure we gave our team every chance to win.”

Assistant Coach Clayton Cutler added, “It’s been incredible to watch this team over the years, they’ve taught me you can’t accomplish anything on your own. They have grown so much and no matter how hard you work individually, you can’t do it on your own. These girls bought in and every one of them helped us win.”

The Lady Cowboys took that pressure and handled it like professionals, never fearing and never settling for anything but bringing home the championship trophy yet again. From discussions in the crowd, it felt like this year team could’ve climbed the ranks and competed with any girls’ high school team in the state. Coach Glover continued, “There is no question this team is a very special one. I believe after all is said and done, last year’s team ended up #7 in the state on maxpreps from the 1A – 6A division levels. This year, they will be somewhere in the top 10 again, I don’t know if that means we can play with those really good, big schools in Utah, but I do know we would have a good chance because we could approach it as a team, have each other’s back and play our hearts out for each other.”

Glover commented on the great supporting cast and crew with his assistant coaches and community saying, “I just can’t overstate how much we appreciate the support of our community. From every direction it has been humbling and we are grateful. Also, I need to thank our assistant coaches for so much of our success. The girls know this. The Clayton and Alexis Cutler family has without question changed the culture of girls basketball in Kanab. Mace and Brooke Glazier lift however they can and wherever they are and Linsey is irreplaceable for me. Thanks to everyone.”

When asked about losing his senior leaders in Anna Cutler, Ashlyn Houston and Beka Rogers, he said, “We will miss our seniors, who really have a true love for the game and have put so much individual time in. I’ve not seen better commitment and leadership ever in anything that I’ve been involved in. They’re truly and literally the best. And yes we miss them already with a real tear in our eyes!”




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