TAYLORSVILLE — Although it won't show up in the box score, Sky View's Hunter Krebs played a vital role in her team's hard-fought 63-55 5A semifinal victory over American Fork Friday night.
“She doesn’t always get points, and she can score, but she just keeps fighting. And I think her rebounds are huge for us. She’s able to box out, go up and get it and she’s so strong. I thought she did a great job tonight. It’s the little things she does that make a huge difference for us and she just had to battle all night long,” Sky View head coach Vanessa Hall said of her power forward.
Facing a one-point deficit with 30 seconds left, American Fork star guard Taylor Moeaki drove the length of the floor, split the defense, went up and kissed it off the glass with a foul called and a chance to take a two-point lead.
Or so it seemed.
The controversial foul, a charge, was actually called on Moeaki and drawn by Jamie Nielson. Sky View took over possession and Krebs eventually finished off the win.
“I didn’t see (the foul), but I still don’t like the call because of the situation. To me, as physical as that game is all game, I don’t think there should be a call one way or the other,” American Fork head coach Corey Clayton said of the late charge call. “I just think you let them play — and she made the basket, which is the killer. But I’m still so proud of my kids. They played their guts out and that was a great girls’ basketball game.”
With 28 seconds left and her team clinging to a now two-point lead, Krebs came down with a clutch offensive rebound before draining two free throws with just 15 seconds left to take a 59-55 lead and basically put the game away for the Bobcats. She finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.
“Hunter went to war tonight. (Taylor) Franson is a great player and it was tough for her, but I was so proud that she just kept fighting and got that rebound at the end off that missed free throw. That was huge. She’s got a fire inside her,” Hall said.
Both teams were very fast-paced and extremely evenly matched throughout the entirety of the game as there was a total of 16 score changes and six ties. The largest lead of the game was the final score.
The two teams pushed the ball and swapped baskets throughout the entire first half as neither one could gain an edge, despite American Fork shooting just 36 percent compared to Sky View's 54 percent, and they headed to the break knotted up 30-30.
“American Fork is a great team. They’re big, fast, they like to run and they’re just a great team. My girls had to battle really hard tonight and I’m just so proud that they didn’t give up,” said Hall.
The Lady Cavemen really picked up the intensity in the second half, especially on defense, and ended the third quarter with a commanding 10-0 run to take their largest lead of the game (46-40) and all the momentum heading into the fourth.
The Bobcats, however, refused to call it quits and came storming back.Comment on this story
They opened the final eight minutes on a 14-6 run to retake the lead at 54-52 off another basket from Krebs before capitalizing on some late stops and big rebounds to end the quarter on a 23-9 run and advance to the 5A championship game.
“We believe in each other. We knew we had it in us and knew we could win this. They’re a great shooting team that hurt us, but little by little we just kept chipping away. It’s those little plays that make a big difference in the game,” Hall said.
Ryan Love is a full-time student and has been a part-time sportswriter for Deseret News since Oct. 2012.
Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724