TAYLORSVILLE — It can be tough being the new kids at a high school.
It can be even tougher trying to become part of a basketball team more than halfway through the season.
But Lacy and Lyndie Haddock haven't just become members of the Timpview T-birds, they've added a crucial element that took the squad from being a pretty good group of athletes to being 4A state title contenders.
When asked how her T-birds went from watching the state tournament from home last year to playing their region rival in Saturday's title game this year, T-birds head coach Casey Cooke Sundquist said it was because of the midseason addition of the Haddock twins, who moved from Colorado in January.
"I think bringing in the twins," she said after Timpview won a 56-55 thriller over third-ranked Sky View in overtime Friday night at Salt Lake Community College. "They bring that spark, that spunk, that sassy attitude, and I've seen it rub off on the other girls. They had (the spark), but now it's a lot more."
Since joining, Lyndie has become one of the key components of the T-birds' success against some very talented opponents. The only team to beat them since the Haddocks joined is the undefeated team they'll play for the championship, Springville.
On Friday, the T-birds trailed by eight points at the end of the third quarter. It looked like the momentum belonged to the Bobcats until the T-birds' pressure defense began to work its magic, just as it did against Orem in the team's opening-round game.
Lyndie Haddock drove the offense in the fourth quarter, and senior Lauryn Dela Cruz was the leader of the defense.
Haddock scored 10 of the team's 14 points in the period, while Dela Cruz earned a game-high eight steals. Haddock was fouled on a layup and made both the shot and the penalty to give the T-birds a one-point lead with 27 seconds to go.
Then Bobcat team leader McKenley Hellstern hit 1 of 2 to tie the game at 48.
When her team returned to the bench heading into overtime, Cooke Sundquist said she could tell the T-birds would prevail in the extra session.
"They said, 'We're not losing this game,'" she said. "It's all them. They did it. ... They hate to lose. I think they hate to lose more than they love to win."
Dela Cruz said she isn't sure why the team's offense stalled in the third quarter.
"I think we just got down on ourselves," she said. But like her coach, she was certain once they sat down to talk about heading into overtime, they'd earn the win.
"I felt the intensity," Dela Cruz said. "We've worked for this all year. We don't want to give up."
Haddock said she made her free throws in the fourth quarter by telling herself there wasn't anything on the line.
"I just tell myself it's just like practice," said the sophomore, who finished with a game-high 21 points to go with four steals and five rebounds. "And I couldn't get on the line without my team. They pass me the ball. " She said she started to score because she drove to the basket more. She admits she is competitive, although she's not certain if she's any more competitive than her teammates.
"I'm really competitive," she said. "I never give up on a ball."
Dela Cruz added 14 points, while Lacy Haddock finished with eight points and 10 rebounds. Audrey Smith scored nine points and grabbed seven rebounds in the win.
Sky View showed a lot of grit, even as the game was slipping away in overtime.
The Bobcats were led by Lindey Jensen, who scored 22 points, including five 3-pointers. Kendra Falslev added 10 points and six rebounds, while Hellstern finished with 11 points. Center Tara Goldman was a monster in the paint with 13 rebounds, seven points, four steals, two blocked shots and three assists.
"They won," said Sky View head coach Kimber Hall. "We did not handle the pressure well. Yesterday we made these types of plays, and today we didn't. We just didn't take care of the basketball."
Hall said the defeat doesn't diminish what his team accomplished this season.
"It has been a great year," he said. "We're not going to hang our heads. We came down here and played well."
Meanwhile, Cooke Sundquist said her team has a hard-nosed mentality.3 comments on this story
"These girls just battle," said Cooke Sundquist. "This group that I have this year, they believe in themselves. I don't even have to motivate them." Especially not Saturday afternoon when they take on Springville, something Cooke Sundquist suspected might happen.
"I told them after that last loss, 'This is not the last time you're going to see Springville'," she said. "'You'll see them in the championship game.' I know that sounds crazy, but I knew we'd get another shot. And we'll be ready."