After jumping out to a huge first-quarter lead, the No. 1-ranked Union Cougars shifted into early cruise control.
It almost cost them."It was way too early in the state tournament," Union coach Mike Ross said after his team's letdown in a 47-46 3A semifinal victory over Pine View Friday afternoon at the Dee Events Center.
Union (22-1), behind a pair of 3-pointers by Bev Richens and a pair of layups by Sarah Colton, accelerated to a 12-0 lead over the Panthers midway through the first quarter.
April Mecham, who finshed with eight points, scored back-to-back jumpers (one a 3-pointer) and Sheila Hutchinson nailed a trey to give the Cougars the 20-4 lead midway through the second quarter.
After the early start, Union began sputtering.
Pine View went on a 10-2 run in the final three minutes of the half to pull within eight points at 22-14.
In a 10-minute stretch, in parts of the second and third quarters, PV's Krystal Esplin scored 15 of her game-high 23 points to pull PV to within six points with three minutes left in the third quarter.
After leading by as many as 10 points late in the third, the Cougars scored only three points (all foul shots) in the last three minutes, while PV's Jessica Freeman and Kassi Ackerman added layups to cut the lead to one point with 13 seconds left.
After a Cougar missed foul shot, the Panthers had the final shot with five seconds left, an 18-footer, to win the game, but it fell short.
Richens led the Cougars with 15 points.
The Cougars will play Snow Canyon, which beat Morgan 57-51, Saturday at 6 p.m. for the state championship.
In other action championship action:
SNOW CANYON 57, MORGAN 51: Chanell Rose and Dani Shaheen scored 19 points each to lead the Warriors to their second-straight state championship berth. Paige Hansen led Morgan with 16 points.
NORTH SANPETE 44, WASATCH 38: Emily Jacobson scored 14 points and Kristen Bailey added 10 more as the Hawks wliminated Wastach. The Hawks, who had three less baskets than Wasatch, hit 21-of-28 foul shots. Carrie Summerhays led Wasatch with 13 points.
LEHI 45, EMERY 33: Lacy Yates poured in 16 points and Callie Trane pitched in with 10 more to keep the Pioneers alive in the tournament. Adrianne Bradley led Emery with a game-high 17 points.