I was pretty nervous. But I was, like, our team has put in so much hard work and we deserve to go to the next level of state. —Savannah Hansen
TAYLORSVILLE — The game-winning play her coaches outlined in their last timeout was not supposed to be for her.
But Savanah Hansen looked up at the clock and decided she and her Mountain View teammates had fought too hard to let this game slip away.
“I was pretty nervous,” the senior said after Mountain View upset fifth-ranked Maple Mountain with Hansen’s buzzer-beater 50-48 in the first round of the 4A state tournament at Salt Lake Community College. “But I was, like, our team has put in so much hard work and we deserve to go to the next level of state.”
Hansen, who was playing in the first tournament game of her prep career, may have been worried about taking the shot, but she said as soon as she launched it from the top of the key, she knew it was good.
“I was just super excited,” she said. “I just looked at the clock and there were like three seconds left, and I was like, ‘I just gotta shoot it.’ My coaches have been reminding me this whole week, I’ve got to step up and be a leader being a senior. So I’m just going to take this shot, and hope and pray that it goes in.”
Hansen’s game winner came after an improbable comeback by the Bruins. Trailing by 11 points at the start of the fourth quarter, Mountain View coaches decided to do something drastic in an effort to keep their post-season dreams alive.
“The whole reason we went into that press at the end is because we have Allie (Warner),” said Bruins head coach Alexis Kaufusi, who earned her first postseason victory as a head coach with the win. “She’s our little cross country star. The kid will run 12 miles and then come to basketball practice, and then go run eight more. She is a ball of energy.”
When she put her into her first varsity game this season, Kaufusi said the team needed something only she could offer.
“This team needs a spark,” Kaufusi said. “And she did exactly what we needed her to do. She even scored a couple of points, so that was nice.”
The press helped the Bruins whittle away at Maple Mountain’s lead. Mountain View finally took the lead with a little more than a minute to play when Hansen grabbed a rebound and threw it to Warner, who hit a 3-point shot for a 48-47 lead.
Just seconds later, Warner was whistled for a foul, but the Golden Eagles only made one of two free throws tying the game at 48.
With about 60 seconds left in the game, the Bruins took their time, running down the clock before Kaufusi called that final time out to outline what they hoped would be a game-winning play.
“We obviously wanted to try and get the ball into Lia’s (Tahlia White) hands,” Kaufusi said. “Everyone in the state knows that, though, and they took her out of the play. I’m just glad the girls executed and really stepped it up.”Comment on this story
The Bruins were led by White’s 20 points while Maple Mountain was led by MiKayla Hubbard, who finished with 18 points, and Nicole Heyn, who added 13 points.
White said that she wasn’t surprised when Hansen hit the high-pressure shot because “she hits it all the time in practice.”
Like her coach, she was proud of how many players contributed to the win.
“My whole team contributed,” White said. “We all, everyone made a crucial play and everyone did their part, and we ended up being able to pull out the win.”