I think our whole team is very competitive and it really means a lot to us to win. —Skyline post player Cameron Mooney
Leading 37-25 heading into the final quarter of Skyline’s matchup against 13-1 East, Lynette Schroeder’s Eagles were outscored 19-7, forcing overtime for Region 6’s top two teams. The Eagles steadied the ship, outscoring East 8-2 in overtime and earning a 52-46 win to move into the top slot in region play.
“I think our whole team is very competitive and it really means a lot to us to win,” Skyline post player Cameron Mooney said. “This was very emotional for us. After we lost to Taylorsville, a lot of people doubted that we could make it to where we were last year.”
While the East defense forced 26 turnovers, Schroeder said her team stuck to the game plan.
“East likes to run and we can’t match that, so we needed to do what we do well, and that’s run offensive sets and make East have to play defense,” Schroeder said.
Skyline was dialed in early with Madison Grange and Kate Vorwaller knocking down shots for a 5-0 Eagles lead. While East got a bucket from Deserae Falatea, the Eagles went on a 6-0 run and led 11-2. After an East timeout, East coach Junior Solovi’s pressure defense got after it. Three straight turnovers and baskets from Liana Kaitu’u, Lealani Falatea and Deserae Falatea closed the gap to 11-8.
Lani Taliauli’s 3-pointer got East as close as 14-11, but Skyline responded with 3-pointers from Jessop and Grange to push the lead to 20-13. East’s Deserae Falatea knocked down two free-throws, but Skyline led 24-15 at the half.
“I thought Skyline did a great job of executing early on,” Solovi said. “We were rushing early on, but I think tonight was more about Skyline doing a good job and us just trying to settle into the game.”
Mooney, who had just one point at the half, muscled in three third-quarter baskets as Skyline took its biggest lead of the night, 31-17.
Trailing by 12 after three quarters, East’s Taliauli grabbed her own miss and muscled up a shot over Mooney. Another basket from Deserae Falatea cut the margin to 37-30, forcing a timeout from Skyline. With the East crowd suddenly into the game, another bucket from Taliauli, a baseline drive from Lealani Falatea and a layup for Margarita Satini cut the margin to 40-38.
Kaitu’u’s free throws at the 2:51 mark tied the game at 40. Kaitu’u took a pass from Satiny and tied it at 44, sending the game to overtime.
In overtime, Grange drilled a contested 10-footer at the 2:10 mark and Skyline converted 6-of-8 free throws that iced the game.
It was a huge win for the defending 5A state champions, and the moment was not lost on Schroeder.
“East is such a good team with one loss on the season, and that’s playing out-of-state competition,” Schroeder said. “We just came in treating it like a state game, and that energy and focus helped us win.”