PROVO As far as the Region 7 girls basketball standings go, Timpview's 52-51 win over Provo on Tuesday meant nothing to either team.
Both are in the playoffs, with Timpview winning the region and Provo guaranteed the No. 2 seed.
Regardless, it was a game that neither the Thunderbirds or Bulldogs wanted to lose and both played that way. However, the T-Birds almost let this one slip away, watching a 15-point third-quarter lead dwindle away and avoiding overtime when Provo sophomore Ashley Kuchar missed a free throw with 1.5 seconds left that would have tied the game.
Still, it's hard for anyone to fault Kuchar because without her heroics and 20 points the Bulldogs wouldn't have even had a chance to win.
After outscoring Provo 21-8 in the second period and then starting the third on an 8-3 run, Timpview had built a 33-18 lead. Slowly the Bulldogs chipped away, and when Kuchar nailed a 3-pointer late in the quarter Provo had closed to 37-29.
Provo's Ethline Fa'atoafe came out with four quick points to begin the fourth, and suddenly it was a tight battle. Still, when Alexis Kaufusi ran off seven straight for Timpview midway through the final frame the T-Birds had rebuilt a 47-38 lead.
The Bulldogs didn't die, and behind the inside game of Sara Heaton and Kelsey Nelson they cut the lead to 48-44 with one minute to play. Two free throws by Timpview's Kellie Woodfield with under 30 seconds left seemed to seal it, until Heaton drilled a baseline jumper with 17.8 on the clock.
On the ensuing inbounds pass, Vanna Cox stole the ball and quickly called time-out. Kuchar then quickly swished in a 3-pointer to make it a 50-49 game. But the T-Birds almost negated that basket when they immediately fed the inbounds pass downcourt to Gabrielle Pinegar, who banked in a layup and was fouled with 6.2 ticks remaining.
When she missed the free throw, which would have put Timpview up by four, Provo raced downcourt and Kuchar was fouled on a desperation 3-point shot.
She made the first two free throws, after which Timpview called time-out. When the teams returned to the floor, Kuchar missed the third attempt giving Timpview the one-point win.The T-Birds were led by Kaufusi's 20 points and 12 points from Chelsea Bridgewater.
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