High school girls basketball: Bear River advances by defeating Delta in 3A girls playoff
TREMONTON — The Bear River Bears were trailing by one point with 14 seconds left when they pulled down a crucial rebound off two missed Delta free throws.
Surging down court, the girls knew this was their one shot, their final opportunity to beat the clock, giving them a 40-39 victory. They punched their ticket to the second round of the playoffs — a round the Bears haven't seen in recent memory.
The clock seemed to speed as the deafening noise of the crowd grew louder. Kassi Fronk sent the ball down court to Kapri Beus, who stepped up to the 3-point line for the Bears' first attempt. The ball went long, but Morgan Summers was there to snag one of the most important rebounds of her career.
Summers brought the ball down and pivoted around to find Sara Huber near the top of the key. With less than three seconds remaining, Huber sent the ball inside.
It was then, that Jordan Theurer found the ball in her possession on the right block, and all she could think was, "finish, finish, finish." Seconds later, she became the game-clinching hero.
The junior was able to power her way through three Delta defenders to lay the ball perfectly off the top right corner of the square for the miraculous finish.
"It was the 'it' basket," she said, "I'm so thankful I made it. It felt so good!" The victory was earned in front of a packed house, brimming with playoff energy and excitement. The contest pitted a scrappy, defensive-minded Bear River team against a hot-shooting Delta High team.
The second half saw several lead changes and neither team truly carried the momentum.
In fact, the two seemed so evenly matched it appeared the clock would be the ultimate decider. Which team would carry the narrow lead when the time finally ran out? The game marked the first time the teams have met this season — something Bear River head coach Van Pack was grateful for.
"We haven't seen them this year and I think it was probably a good thing," he said. "They weren't quite as ready for our defense."
The Bears seemed to have control in the first quarter and much of the second as a result of that defense. They created chaos with a full-court press and forced several Delta turnovers.
Despite the mistakes, the Rabbits refused to let the Bears run away with the game. TaNeil Clayton found her rhythm in the middle of the second quarter and became the offensive spark for the Rabbits with three consecutive jump shots.
Several other Rabbits stepped up on both ends of the court. The rally brought Delta within one point for a halftime score of 23-22. The closeness was a precursor for the all-out battle in the second half.
Theurer and Summers led the Bears with nine points apiece, while Kapri Beus added eight points, sinking several from the outside.
Angela Burton finished with 14 points for Delta, including two big 3-pointers in the third quarter.
The win ensured Bear River a second-round playoff game next Thursday in St. George, where they'll take on Snow Canyon.