HERRIMAN — With playoff-seeding on the line, the Herriman Mustangs slugged out a 38-37 victory against rival Skyline on Tuesday night, giving them a No. 2 seed entering the 4A state playoffs.
It was a game that featured a lot of turnovers, missed shots and hard play. In short, it was a win that typified Herriman's season.
"That's just who we are and it's how our region has been all year," said coach Brad Tingey. "It's been like that in most games and we knew we had a lot riding on this game. That's just the way we've done things all year..
The game is 32 minutes long and we used all of the minutes in this one. It wasn't pretty, but we got it done and we never quit."
Had Olympus lost to Murray on Tuesday night, the Mustangs would have found themselves tied for first-place in Region 7, but it was not to be as the Titans secured the first-place spot with their 68-57 victory.
Regardless, they find themselves with a well-earned second seed. "We're happy with how we ended the season and we'll see how do in the playoffs soon enough," said Tingey.
The Mustangs trailed for most of the game and found themselves having to foul the Eagles in the final minute in hopes of securing the win. Down 37-36 with 17.8 seconds left Skyline senior DeSean Miller missed both of his foul shots, opening the door for the comeback win.
Senior Jaden Rasmussen seized the opportunity, hitting a driving lay-up with just 10 seconds remaining in what proved to be the game-winning basket. The Eagles had an opportunity in the final seconds, but after an errant inbounds pass following a timeout with just three seconds remaining, Miller found himself having to hoist up a desperation half-court shot as the final buzzer sounded.
Rasmussen's lay-up proved to be one of just two field goals made by the Mustangs inside of 20-feet. Skyline bottled up the inside effectively throughout the night leading to a lot of missed shots and a very low-scoring game.
Fortunately for Herriman, its players stepped up in the final minutes, particularly junior Tueni Lupeamanu who scored nine of his team-leading 11 points during the second half.
"Tueni is someone our players have really learned to trust and depend on down the stretch," said Tingey. "It's been fun to watch him grow and he really has opened things for us. He's someone who knows how to hit big shots and you saw that tonight."
Skyline was led by Miller and his 18 points. With the win Herriman finishes the regular season at 12-8. Skyline finishes the season at 15-6 and gets a three seed in the state tournament.