TAYLORSVILLE — Even with a 15-2 opening quarter, Sky View head coach Kimber Hall paced like a man whose world was about to come unraveled.
"We just can't put four quarters together," said the coach after the third-ranked Bobcats defeated fourth-ranked Bountiful 62-48 Thursday night in the 4A quarterfinals at Salt Lake Community College. "I just get nervous that they're going to come back and beat us."
It doesn't take Hall long to give a few examples of big leads that went bad, so his worries weren't completely unjustified.
This Sky View team, which is loaded with talent, has struggled to play strong, regardless of the score.
"We just let them stay hanging around," Hall said. "But you've got to credit Bountiful. They're down and they could have just quit. But they come right back and (Kennedy Merrick) and (Tianna Dougher) started scoring."
The Bobcats started out pressuring the ball, which caused turnovers and easy scoring opportunities for Sky View. The Bobcats jumped out to an 13-0 run, and the Braves couldn't get on the scoreboard until it made two foul shots late in the first quarter. Sky View led 15-2 at the end of the first quarter.
"We had more energy today than we've had in a long time," said senior Tara Goldman, who finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots. "We're like, 'Yeah! We're going to do it!' We knew Bountiful, and we'd played them. We were just excited."
The Braves bounced back in the second quarter and played even with the Bobcats the remainder of the game. The Braves were led by Merrick, who scored 14 points, grabbed eight rebounds, swiped three steals and dished two assists. Dougher added 15 points and four rebounds.
Every time it seemed Bountiful was going to close the gap, Sky View would find a way to pull away.
"I thought Kenley (Hellstern) had some key shots right there at the end, and Tara (Goldman) had some big rebounds at the end," said Hall. "We made the plays we needed to make at the end of the game."
Neither Sky View's coach or his players are sure why the Bobcats have trouble playing with a big lead.Comment on this story
"It shouldn't be (hard to play with a lead)," said Goldman. "But it was for us a little bit. We dropped a little bit. Our team knows how to stick to it, so we battled. We have heart."
Hellstern and Goldman teamed up for some beautiful plays, something Goldman said they've been practicing all season.
"When it works in a game, it's awesome," she said grinning. Hellstern added 10 points, while forward Lindsey Jensen scored 14 points, grabbed three rebounds, had two steals and distributed two assists.
The win means the Bobcats will face fifth-ranked Timpview on Friday in the 4A semifinals.