LAYTON — For Cassidy Anderson, this was a great chance to gain some sweet and long-awaited vindication.
So when that opportunity surprisingly presented itself, the Layton High senior guard stepped up and cashed in.
With 1.5 seconds remaining and her team trailing Bonneville by a point, Anderson calmly sank a pair of pressurized free throws to lift the Lancers to a 38-37 victory over the Lakers in a highly entertaining preseason girls basketball game Tuesday night.
"It was a little crazy," Anderson said with a laugh regarding the game's frantic finish. "I was in that situation before, back in junior high. ... It ended differently, though. I missed one and made one and we ended up losing."
In all honesty, though, this time it probably should never have come down to this.
Bonneville took a 37-36 lead when Kayla Eilertson dropped in a rim-rattling 3-pointer with 42 seconds to play.
After a Layton miss, Bonneville's Sam Filiaga grabbed the rebound and the Lancers were forced to quickly foul the Lakers on three subsequent possessions in order to get Bonneville into a one-and-one foul-shooting situation.
Finally, Bonneville's Abby Toller went to the line with 3.2 seconds left, but the front end of her one-and-one attempt caromed off the back iron and back toward the foul line.
Toller aggressively tried to grab the rebound, but Anderson was in the lane blocking her path to the ball, and Toller was whistled for a foul with 1.5 seconds remaining, sending Anderson to the line at the other end.
"Yeah, I was shocked that I got that chance," said Anderson, who recalled being in a similar do-or-die situation years earlier while playing at Fairfield Junior High, when her team wound up losing.
This time, she wasn't about to let those ghosts haunt her any longer.
She cleanly splashed in both clutch foul shots to give her team the one-point lead and its fourth straight win when a desperation, last-gasp shot by Bonneville's Cortney Porter from beyond half court narrowly missed.
Anderson said her coach, Van Price, helped settle her nerves a bit during the last timeout before her decisive free throws.
"He just said if you miss or make, it wasn't on me, because it was other things that happened up to that point," she said. "And that helped me relax a little bit.
"They're No. 1 in 4A," Anderson said of the Lakers, "so that's a good win for us."
Maddi Smith scored 11 points to lead the Lancers (5-1), while Anderson and Hailey Bassett added six points apiece and Jaden Anderson, Sunnie Martinez, Megan Short, Megan Benson and Taylor Moore also played roles in the victory.
For Bonneville (5-2), which had its four-game winning streak snapped, Eilertson scored a game-high 13 points and Porter chipped in with eight for the Lakers, whose subpar 4-of-9 free-throw shooting as a team came back to bite 'em on the backside.
"I thought they'd clear the lane (on Toller's free-throw attempt) and then there wouldn't be any chance, but they didn't so it gave us an opportunity," Price said. "I thought it was a legit foul call. I thought the refs were doing a good job because they called the game like they saw it and gave us an opportunity, and I was glad Cass got that opportunity to win a game for us.
"During the last timeout, I told her this wasn't on her, this is a whole team, things that we did before this, and just relax and put 'em in and it's good. And she did.
"She had some vindication there because when she was in junior high, they played for a championship and she missed some free throws right down the stretch that cost them their junior high championship," the Lancers' longtime coach said. "Now to come into the high school, I was looking for this opportunity for her to come back. So she's gonna enjoy this because it's kind of the monkey off her back. She's gone four years thinking about that when she missed a couple free throws in junior high, so this is a little vindication for her. She's a good kid and a good player."
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