We know each other so well, we almost know what books we like to read. It’s fun to play a team like Piute; they’re well-coached, good players. —Wayne coach Jan Ellett
RICHFIELD — Thirty-two minutes were not enough for Wayne and Piute.
After playing three times during the regular season, the Region 20 foes knew each other too well to determine a winner in regulation.
Instead, the familiar foes each used last-second heroics to extend their Friday afternoon 1A state tournament consolation game at the Sevier Valley Center. They pushed it into a first and then a second overtime before Wayne finally emerged victorious, 70-68, in its first win over the T-Birds all season.
“We know each other so well, we almost know what books we like to read,” Wayne coach Jan Ellett said. “It’s fun to play a team like Piute; they’re well-coached, good players.”
Prior to tipoff, Ellett offered the Badgers some words of wisdom, understanding the difficulty of playing a region opponent yet again, particularly a day after falling from the championship bracket in the quarterfinal round.
“I told the girls today coming over, ‘This is probably one of the most difficult games you’ll ever play,’” he said. “‘All I ask is that you show us what you’re made of.’ They surpassed that.”
With just 1.6 seconds remaining in regulation and facing a one-point deficit, Piute's Shaylee Gleave inbounded the ball from under her own basket to her sister, Kierra Gleave, who launched a desperation shot at the buzzer — and was fouled. Kierra hit the first, tying the game at 54-54 and sending it to overtime.
Nearly four minutes later, Wayne's Sarah Taylor hit a contested jumper with less than five seconds left to re-tie the game, 61-61, and send it to double overtime.
“She bruised her ribs down at region in the semifinal game,” Ellett said of Taylor, who finished with 17 points. “She’s been playing like that ever since.”
In the final overtime, the Badgers’ pressure defense forced multiple Piute turnovers and, with 32.1 seconds remaining, Rebekah Rasmussen drew a foul and hit the second of her free throws to give Wayne its final 70-68 advantage.
Hannah Ellett led Wayne with 23 points and Rasmussen finished with 10. With the win, the Badgers advance to the fifth-place game, which is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
“These kids, the kids that I coach, they give us 100 percent all the time,” Ellett said. “It’s a joy to coach them.”
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.