TAYLORSVILLE — Jalissa Bagley had not hit a shot all game. But when it mattered most, she came through for her team.
The Alta senior made two huge baskets at the end of regulation to send her team's first-round playoff game to overtime, and the Hawks went on to beat Pleasant Grove 71-64 in OT at the girls 5A state basketball tournament Monday evening.
“It was kind of a shock because I played terrible most of the game,” said Bagley, who finished with 10 points. “This is my first state game — nerves kind of got the best of me. So when I hit that shot, I didn’t even know what was going on. Then I realized we were going into overtime, and it was a big deal.”
Alta established its largest lead of seven points early in the game, pulling ahead 29-22 with 3:24 left in the first half. The Hawks’ spark was ignited by junior Chloe Ferre, who hit four 3-pointers in the first half and finished with five 3s and 17 total points.
“That’s what she does,” Alta coach Kristi Jensen said of Ferre’s early scoring. “She’s the kind of person that’s not afraid. She doesn’t get jitters; she’ll hit that last-second shot. She’s the kid that’s not afraid. She doesn’t get worried. She just goes and plays.”
The Vikings responded to the early deficit with a 10-2 run to retake a one-point lead, and the teams were within a few points for the remainder of regulation. Pleasant Grove seemingly took the lead for good when forward Lilly Evans hit two free throws to give her team a 53-52 lead with 1:24 remaining, and then regained possession when Alyssa Crabb stuffed an Alta shot 15 seconds later.
That is when Bagley sprang into action. With 38 seconds left, all 5-foot-6 of the guard outrebounded the Vikings and put the ball back in to give Alta back the lead.
Pleasant Grove leading scorer Megan Wilde, who finished with 25 points, then hit a 3-pointer at the other end, setting up Bagley’s dramatic final shot.
“I just told them to run our offense,” Jensen said of how she set up the final sequence. “We had 16 seconds. We didn’t have to draw up some special play. (Bagley) was the one who had the open shot, and she took it.”
With time winding down, Bagley attacked the lane and then pulled up for the jump shot. The ball hit every piece of the rim before finally falling through.
“It felt off,” she remembered afterward. “I didn’t think it was going in.”Comment on this story
The score added an extra five minutes to the game, which the Hawks completely dominated from the foul line. Bagley, Rachel Jenson, Adrianna Jensen, and Rachel McDonald each connected on freebies as Alta finished 12 of 15 in the extended time and 24 of 30 for the game.
“Our last game, we missed 20 foul shots,” Jensen, who was clearly pleased with Monday’s performance, said. “We’ve really been talking about it, working on them, and they came out poised and composed and ready to go.”
The Hawks now face Layton in a quarterfinal matchup at Salt Lake Community College on Wednesday in the 2:30 p.m. game.
Sarah Thomas is a graduate of the University of Utah and has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org