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SANDY — It's the kind of shot that makes a player feel like she's the queen of the world.
"Right now, yes, I do (feel that way)," said a giddy Sadie Williams, after she hit a jaw-dropping buzzer beater to give American Fork a 63-60 win over Alta Wednesday night. "I knew there wasn't much time, and I felt a lot of pressure. I was actually looking to get fouled."
Instead, the left-handed point guard tossed in a 3-pointer that was actually tipped by Alta's Makenzi Morrison.
"She was riding my left side, so I had to shoot with my opposite hand," said Williams, who finished with 13 points. The ball dropped through the net just as the buzzer sounded and the Cavemen celebrated a win that almost got away.
The Cavemen led the Hawks by 15 points with 4:52 remaining in the fourth quarter. That's when junior forward Ashley Baugh picked up her fourth foul and left the game.
Alta quickly took advantage of a more porous defense and scored nine straight points — seven of them by Morrison, who finished with 17 points. Abbie Simons played extremely well, hitting three 3-point shots and scoring 12. Lauren Garland added 10 points.
American Fork head coach Corey Clayton said they talked about trying to stop Morrison by going man-to-man defensively.
"Kenzi is so good off the dribble," said Clayton. "I've seen this show too many times."
Williams and junior guard Cassidy Fraughton said Morrison, who will play for BYU next year, is one of the toughest players to guard.
"When you give her too much space she shoots it," said Fraughton, who had some impressive moments of her own in the contest, finishing with 18 points. "If you get up on her, she drives past you."
So the Cavemen stayed in a zone defense and struggled to rebound as effectively without Baugh's long arms and athleticism.
"She really makes a difference for us," said Clayton.
Baugh came in at 2:52 left in the fourth and immediately grabbed a rebound and was fouled. The Cavemen were leading 58-53 when Baugh fouled out at 1:47 in the fourth.
"We weren't talking," said Fraughton of how the Cavemen gave up a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter. Added Williams, "I think we started to feel a little too good."
Complacency, they said, has been a problem last year, and at times, this season.
"It's just a mental thing, and we're really trying to break that habit," said Fraughton, shaking her head.
Alta's full-court press led to two turnovers and in the final seconds, Morrison was everywhere. She went to the foul line with 4.1 seconds left and hit both free throws to tie the game at 60.
American Fork moved the ball up the floor quickly with some good passing and then just before the 3-point line, Williams got the ball and started to drive to the basket with Morrison on her like glue.Comment on this story
She managed to get the shot off just in time, much to the delight of her teammates.
"She's just a great leader," said Fraughton of Williams, the team's only senior. "She's improved so much and it's so fun having her on the team."
Megan Eliason played well, scoring 13 points and Baugh added eight points in the non-region win.