High school girls basketball: Wasatch outlasts Judge in wild 4A tournament opener
TAYLORSVILLE — Torri Bills only made one basket in Monday’s 4A first-round game, but the Wasatch sophomore picked the perfect time to score.
With the Wasps in the dumps after blowing a 17-point lead to rival Judge and now trailing late in overtime, Bills buried an angle-right 3-pointer with 41 seconds left, giving her team a one-point lead it never relinquished in Wasatch’s wild 59-56 win at Salt Lake Community College.
“I lost it,” said Wasatch senior Heather Evans. “I went and hugged her and said, 'Thank you, thank you so much.'”
After Evans made a layup with 19 seconds remaining to increase Wasatch’s lead to 59-56, Judge had two 3-point attempts to tie the game bounce off the rim — including Kailie Quinn’s at the buzzer.
It was Quinn’s 3-pointer at the end of regulation that sent the game into overtime — her fourth of the fourth quarter — so both benches instinctively held their breath as Quinn put up her last shot.
Quinn finished with 23 points to lead all scorers, but like all of her teammates she struggled mightily through the first three quarters as Judge fell behind 37-20 at one point.
Just when it seemed Wasatch would coast to the finish line, Judge mounted a wild comeback, cutting the deficit to 41-34, then 45-41 and then 49-47. The Wasps had three chances to realistically put the game away from the free-throw line in the last minute but couldn’t, missing the front end of two one-and-ones and making 1 of 2 on another trip.
“This was a game of 'should’ve beens.' We should’ve won it in regulation. We were up 10 or so and we let it get away from us,” said Wasatch coach Tom Perkins. “Sometimes you get lucky. You have to be good, and I thought we were a good team. I thought we had to get lucky tonight, but we’ll take the win.”
Even though Wasatch buckled at the end of regulation with missed free throws and turnovers, it redeemed itself in overtime after Judge built a 56-63 lead with 1:33 remaining — which could’ve also been more with better free-throw shooting.
Evans cut the deficit to 56-54 after an offensive rebound extended the Wasps’ possession, and with 41 seconds remaining Bills buried her 3-pointer following another offensive rebound.
“I feel we definitely were up pace, up pace and we just let them get back in it,” said Wasatch senior Hailey Hardman, who scored 15 points. “I think we held our composure better than they did. We just never doubted ourselves.”
Despite entering the playoffs as the No. 4 seed from Region 8, Wasatch was very comfortable opening with Region 6 champion Judge, an old 3A rival before the teams made the jump to 4A this year.
“It definitely added to the intensity. It made it a more intense game, which could be good or it could be bad. I think we took it the good way. We knew the team. That was key,” said Evans, who led the Wasps with 18 points.
Judge freshman Vanessa Austin added 22 points for the Bulldogs.