RICHFIELD — The plan was to switch every screen, to deny every offensive player, to force a five-second count.
The possession didn’t unfold as planned. Instead, the Bryce Valley girls basketball team, said head coach Tyson Brinkerhoff, got lucky.
“It didn’t work out how we drew it up,” Brinkerhoff said after his team escaped with a wild 39-38 upset victory over Piute in the 1A girls quarterfinals at the Sevier Valley Center on Thursday evening. “It didn’t work out that way, but we got a rebound when it counted.”
The Mustangs were on defense with a one-point lead and just 2.7 seconds left. Piute was inbounding from under its own basket.
Junior guard Shaylee Gleave slapped the ball and then found her sister, Kierra Gleave, cutting down the opposite side of the lane. Even amid a wall of defenders, Kierra got off a last-second shot attempt but it was deflected. Bryce Valley controlled the board and punched its ticket into the 1A semifinals on Friday.
The entire fourth quarter, which started with a tied score of 30-30, was filled with lead changes and ties. Kierra Gleave hit two free throws and Shalyn Bagley quickly followed with another bucket to give Piute a four-point lead. The Mustangs responded immediately with a 3-point play and a jumper from Ashlee Chynoweth and Samanth Chynoweth, respectively.
Whitney Allen gave Piute back the lead, 36-34, and then Taylor Talbot reclaimed the Mustangs’ advantage when she was fouled and made the bucket with a post move with just 2:23 left.
“Three, four different girls had to keep stepping up today,” Brinkerhoff said. “We struggled but we played through it.”
Kierra Gleave hit two free throws to tie the score at 38-38, and then Ashlee Chynoweth hit the second of two freebies to give Bryce Valley the lead for good.
“We have a young team, they grew today,” Brinkerhoff said. “Our girls are buying into our system. Our defense was key today, and they’re not afraid to shoot the ball.”
Freshman forward Samantha Chynoweth led the Mustangs with 12 points and junior guard Ashlee Chynoweth scored 10. Kierra Gleave, a senior, and Shaylee Gleave, a junior, had 12 points each for Piute.
“That was a blast,” Brinkerhoff said. “An absolute blast.”
Bryce Valley will play in the 7:30 p.m. timeslot in the second semifinal game Friday while Piute moves to the consolation bracket for a noon game.
Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.
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