ST. GEORGE — Grantsville led for only two seconds in Thursday’s 3A quarterfinal against South Sevier, but it was the most important two seconds of the game — the final two.
After teammate Hannah Butler missed a free throw with 7.5 seconds remaining that would’ve given Grantsville its first lead of the game, Ashlee Edwards ripped a long rebound out of the hands of a South Sevier player. She darted straight to the basket laying the ball in with 2.3 seconds remaining, capping Grantsville’s persistent rally as it came back to stun South Sevier 49-47 at Dixie State.
“These girls have that naturally. It doesn’t matter if we’re down 10, or if we’re up 10, they’re going to fight and they’re going to give everything they have no matter what,” said Grantsville coach Megan Vera.
Even though Butler missed the and-one free throw that could’ve given Grantsville the lead, that free throw came after converting a driving lay-up in traffic that tied the game at 47-47.
Vera praised the mentality of both Butler and Edwards during the decisive final few seconds.
“The nice thing about our team is we have multiple girls when we get in those close situations they want the ball in their hands and they have the confidence and they’re ok to be the one to score at the end,” said Vera, whose team plays Emery in the Friday’s semifinals at 5:50 p.m.
Grantsville needed every ounce of that mentality with South Sevier leading the entire game.
Vera’s team never fell too far behind though, and always seemed a stop or two away from climbing back into the game. The problem was, those stops didn’t come frequently enough in the first half as South Sevier controlled the glass grabbing six offensive rebounds and turning them into 10 second-chance points.
Jitters played a role in Grantsville’s sluggish start, and Vera said eventually she had to just ditch the game plan and get players on the court who would attack the glass both offensively and defensively.
“We had to find the girls that were going to go in and get done what we needed to get done; we need to crash the boards, we needed to get rebounds,” said Vera.
Grantsville finished the game outrebounding South Sevier 25-22.
In the final three minutes though, the Rams still grabbed a clutch offensive rebound and converted it into two free throws to extend the lead to 45-40. Grantsville responded with a key three-point play from Ellie Wilson, who came off the bench and played key minutes and scored seven points.
On South Sevier’s ensuing possession it wasted a minute off the clock and still padded its lead as Mattie Blackburn’s layup pushed it to 47-43 with 1:06 left. The Rams didn’t score again.
Maison White’s lay-up for Grantsville trimmed the deficit to 47-45 with 58 seconds left, and then with 21 seconds left in the game, South Sevier missed the front end of a one-and-one which set the stage for Butler and Edwards’ heroics.
“I knew that we had this in our team the whole time, but I think we just came out really anxious,” said Edwards.
Kaylie Jenson led South Sevier in the loss with 16 points.