TAYLORSVILLE So many games during the year are decided by free throws. And that was exactly the case for Jordan and Pleasant Grove in the 5A state quarterfinals as the Beetdiggers won 66-57 in overtime.
It was all about Jennifer Hamson at the end of regulation and all about Izzy Gustafson in the overtime.
With no time left on the clock and the Vikings down by three, Hamson calmly finished a layup and found herself fouled in the process. Not only did she have to shoot the free throw that would tie the game and send it into overtime, she had to do it all alone as no one was standing there with her.
She stepped up to the line with ice running through her veins and sank it.
"That's the toughest free throw in the world right there," said Jordan coach Greg Cramer.
"She's been making her free throws all year long, and she's got a calm persona about her anyway," said Pleasant Grove coach Glenn Larsen.
But another person with a calm persona was the one that finished things off in overtime. Gustafson not only scored 27 points in the game, she did it with incredible style as she sank 12-12 from the line all coming in the fourth quarter and overtime.
In addition to her composed free-throw shooting, Gustafson added three treys and a huge smile to the game, causing Cramer to say, "Izzy's clutch for me. She knows it."
The overtime belonged to the Beetdiggers, much like the first quarter. Gustafson put up nine points on the board, and Stephanie Burt and Kaylie Robison added free throws as well, but the Vikings just ran out of gas. Whitney Giles picked up one field goal in the extra session and finished with 13 points and eight rebounds. But the Vikings' only other score in the overtime period came on a free throw by freshman Danyele Hoffman.
Jordan started the game with a flair, ending the first quarter with a 21-9 lead and extending it to 25-12 early in the second, but Pleasant Grove just kept fighting back with a never say die attitude.
"We just came back and came back and came back," said Pleasant Grove coach Glenn Larsen, who added, "I told Greg that was the best game I've ever been involved in, and he told me it was a shame somebody had to lose."
In addition to Gustafson's gaudy nunbers, Robison pulled down 17 boards and had 12 points, and Stephanie Burt had 12 points, eight assists and three steals.
For the Vikings Hamson finished with 14 points and eight rebounds, Sarah Clement had 12 points and 10 boards. Krystal Carter finished with eight points and four assists.
"There was a lot of emotion in that one. I knew they had size, and I tried to counter that with a little movement. It was a good team effort," Cramer added, noting that Bev Smith also played a solid game for him with 13 points.The Beetdiggers now find themselves in a semifinal matchup with American Fork tonight at 6 p.m.
E-mail: [email protected]