WEST VALLEY CITY — At the beginning of the season, the Carbon girls basketball team set a goal to reach the semifinals of the 3A state tournament, to be one of the final four standing.
In the midst of the Dinos' 50-48 overtime victory in their quarterfinal game against Stansbury on Thursday afternoon, the dream seemed to be floating away.
That was until Jordan Scoggins took over.
Facing a two-point deficit and with just 30 seconds left in regulation, the junior guard intercepted a Stansbury inbound pass and laid it in to tie the game, 42-42, and force overtime.
Almost exactly four game minutes later, and this time with the game all tied up at 48-48, Scoggins knocked the ball away from the Stallions' guard, drove to the other end of the floor, and drew a foul in a one-and-one situation.
She hit both free throws to seal the victory — and clinch the Dinos' season-long goal.
"I just came out there like, 'we're not losing' and I just played my hardest," she said. "We had a goal to get to the final four, to get to this next level."
The Stallions tested Carbon early, opening the game with five straight points and a trio of first-half 3-pointers, and a three-point lead, 24-21, at the midpoint while limiting the Dinos to just 25 percent shooting during the first 16 minutes.
"I was upset with the way we were timid and a little bit scared," Carbon head coach Ted Bianco said of his team's slow start. "But we got through that early and I thought we did a good job of regrouping ourselves and getting some things going."
The Dinos finally found their groove by honing in on their defense. Bianco wanted his team to create confusion for the Stallions in order to create opportunities on the offensive end.
"We wanted to create as much havoc as we could on the defensive end of the floor and not foul," he said. "We knew we could play good enough defense without reaching and getting a crazy foul in that situation."
In the halftime locker room, his message was simple: "The big thing was, 'be aggressive defensively, don't play outside of yourself, and offensively, take care of the basketball and be composed,’ ” he said. "I thought they did a pretty good job of that."
To add fuel to the team's momentum, after the halftime break, Scoggins caught fire.
She hit three 3-pointers and another jumper in the third quarter, totaling 11 of her game-high 28 total points during the period. She added her final seven points during the fourth quarter and overtime, including scoring the final four points of the game from the foul line.
"I was freaking out," she said of the back-and-forth nature of the game, which saw nine lead changes and eight ties. She added that she overcame emotion of the game not by thinking about the goal of reaching the semifinals but by focusing only on the task at hand.
"You just focus on what you're doing at the moment instead of trying to worry about everything else," she said.
Scoggins shot 46.7 percent from the floor and was 10-of-14 from the foul line along with six steals and just a single turnover. As a team, the Dinos shot 33 percent from the floor and 70.8 percent from the foul line.
The Stallions were led once again by Rachel Prescott, the senior guard who hit a game-winner as time expired against Uintah to put Stansbury in the quarterfinal game. She had a team-best 16 points while Kallie Stewart recorded an 11-point, 10 rebound double-double.
The Dinos will face Morgan in the semifinals Friday at 2:30 p.m. at the Maverik Center.
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.