RICHFIELD Experience is a valuable commodity in playoff basketball. North Sevier has it.
The Wolves have eight seniors on their roster, including three-year starters Chanda Hallows and Melissa Porter who have played in the 2A championship game the past two seasons. They needed every bit of that knowledge and experience in defeating Beaver 48-39 Thursday night at the Sevier Valley Center.
"When you have girls on the team that have been there, they know what it takes and how hard they have to play to win," said coach Lexa Larson. "Plus, with seniors, they know this is their last chance and there is no next year if they don't get it done."
It was important that North Sevier had all those players that know what it takes because they started like a bug stuck in the mud. Beaver began the game on a 12-2 run as LaChelle Christensen both hit 3-pointers. The Beavers have relied heavily all season on post player Morgan Wood, and for good reason. She led the classification at nearly 18 points per game. With Wood's mere presence, it created some problems for the Wolves.
"We came in knowing we wanted to try to shut down Morgan as much as we could," Larson said. "I think we probably gave her too much respect. We sagged off to much to help down, and they hit some nice shots from outside."
The good news for the Wolves was that they never panicked. They simply adjusted and stayed home a little more. There offense also woke up as Hallows and Porter took over. Hallows scored seven points, and Porter added five as the team closed out the first period on a 12-0 run of their own.
"We have been in that situation before, so I don't think that anyone was worried that we couldn't get it done," said Larson of the early deficit.
The Wolves held their two-point lead through the break, and led by three at 33-36 after three quarters. Again it was the experience that made the difference to open the fourth. The defense picked up as North Sevier's zone frustrated the Beavers into turnovers. For the game, Beaver had 12 giveaways compared to only five for the Wolves. Beaver scored only two points for the first six minutes of the deciding run, and North Sevier hit enough free throws down the stretch to advance.
Hallows led the way with 16 points. Porter chipped in with nine points, five rebounds and perhaps most importantly five big blocks. Wood led Beaver with 14 points.North Sevier faces South Sevier in a rematch of last year's championship game at 2:30 p.m. Beaver moves to the consolation side and faces North Summit at 11:10 in the morning.