RICHFIELD — It was a battle that came down to the very last shot as Richfield was able to slip past Judge Memorial 57-55 in a first-round matchup of the 3A state girls basketball tournament Friday.
"This is the scariest game you can play," said Richfield coach Marc Peterson. "In the past it's been a top seed versus a low seed — it's unfortunate Judge has to go home, because they are a great team."
What made the game even scarier for Peterson was the fact Judge led most of the way.
"These seniors have been beat once on this floor in three years," Peterson said. "They just fought back and fought back."
Judge took the lead with the first bucket of the game, which Mikelle Mancini was fouled on. She converted it into a 3-point play on her way to finishing the night with 15 points. Jackie Stults and Erica Martinez both dropped in buckets for the Bulldogs, going up 8-2 with 3:37 to go in the first quarter. Martinez went on to lead all players with 28 points, including three 3-pointers.
At this point, Richfield's only points had come from two trips to the foul line.
Brooke Bliss, who totaled 13 points, hit Richfield's first shot from the field. She hit another before the first quarter ended, as did teammate Chelsee Willardson. However, Judge's Martinez, Stults and Mancini each made baskets, pushing the Bulldogs up to a 17-9 advantage after one period.
The gap grew to 10 points as Stults hit an inside jumper.
Richfield's Megan Bean and Sloane Roundy both hit shots from inside the perimeter, cutting the lead back to six. However, Martinez hit her first trey of the evening. Andrea Christensen dropped in another bucket for the Wildcats, followed by a 3-pointer from teammate Tanisha Armstrong, which cut the lead to five.
Martinez struck again, with another 3-pointer, resisting the Richfield comeback. She scored twice more before the break, along with Mancini, who pumped in another 3-pointer. By halftime, the Bulldogs held a 34-28 lead.
It wasn't until the 4:28 mark of the third quarter that Richfield was able to knot the game, on a shot by Andrea Christensen, after trailing from the start. Still, the third quarter ended with the Bulldogs up 44-43.
Judge jumped out to a five-point advantage to start the fourth quarter, but Richfield went on a 7-point jaunt for its first lead of the game with 2:42 left.
Martinez locked up the score at 52-all with 1:16 left.
That's when Hinck hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key.
"All I could think is that my team's up, and that's what we needed," Hinck said.
With Richfield up by five and 19 seconds left, Judge's Erica Martinez hit a 3-pointer to trim the lead to two. The Bulldogs were able to recover the ball with less than 10 seconds left, and Martinez got a shot off as the buzzer sounded, but it went wide, giving Richfield the win.
JUAB 45, MORGAN 41: The Wasps pulled off the stunning first-round upset of top-ranked Morgan. Juab jumped out to a 25-18 halftime lead and then held on for the victory despite Morgan's late rally. Kiz Farrer led Juab with 19 points, while teammate Tessa Bradford chipped in with 11.
JUAN DIEGO 51, DELTA 42: Brittney Coffer posted a career-high 14 points, eight of which came in the second quarter when Coffer led Juan Diego on a 16-6 run and hit a shot at the buzzer to pull the Soaring Eagle within one point going into the locker room.
CANYON VIEW 63, PARK CITY 23: Canyon View played great defense in its first-round victory over Park City. Tori McGrath finished with a game-high 25 points for the Falcons.
WASATCH 55, BEN LOMOND 36: Natalie Pennington had a huge game, scoring 16 points for Wasatch. Teammate Jordyn Richardson finished with 17 points in the first round playoff game.
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UNION 42, CEDAR 35: The Cougars and Redmen were evenly paced for three quarters before Union pulled away in the fourth in a hard-fought game. Brianna Nielsen and Alexis Benson combined to score 29 points in the win.
EMERY 55, GRANTSVILLE 37: Abbie Kay finished with a game-high 18 points, as she helped lead Emery to a first round playoff victory over Grantsville.
CARBON 41, DESERT HILLS 31:Tia Pappas and Sara Potts combined for 21 points and Miranda Averett added six blocks as the Dinos grabbed the 3A playoffs first-round win on the road.