RICHFIELD — With just over six and a half minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of their quarterfinal contest against the North Summit Braves, the Enterprise Wolves were in trouble.
Despite leading for much of the game, including most of the first half, the Wolves were down six and the Braves were rolling.
Just when it seemed a berth in the 2A semifinals was about to slip away from them, however, Enterprise responded, earning themselves a thrilling 44-42 victory in the process.
“I just told them they had to be aggressive,” Enterprise head coach Lance Jones said. “When we have been aggressive we have been very hard to defend.
Then, trailing by two points, Kindy Christensen drilled back-to-back mid-range jumpers, lifting Enterprise into the lead.
Fortunately for the basketball fans in the Sevier Valley Center Thursday night, the game was far from over.
Immediately after her team relinquished the lead, North Summit star sophomore Kennedy McQueen gave it back to them with a clutch three-pointer.
The final basket of her night, McQueen, along with teammate Brecklyn Murdock, had been a thorn in the Wolves side all game long.
“We knew (McQueen ) was their best player,” said Jones. “We knew she was going to score. You can’t shut her down, she is too good of a player. We just tried to keep her in control, not let her go off. We knew if she got hot, got going, we would be in trouble. She could get a bucket here and there but we just couldn’t let her get going.”
The Wolves succeeded, for the most part, in accomplishing that task. McQueen finished with 16 points, three points below her season average. Of course, Murdock picked up the slack with a game-high 18 points.
Following McQueen’s three-pointer, Miller made her presence felt yet again, a theme in the contest. She finished with a team-high 11 points and her free throw, with just over a minute left, tied the game at 42 points apiece.
The teams would battle back-and-forth over the next 40 seconds, with both sides missing point blank shots.
Then, with 17 seconds remaining, the Braves seemed to catch a game-changing break. After watching Enterprise, specifically Ronnie Robinson drive down the floor and miss a layup, North Summit was awarded possession of the ball.
On the ensuing possession, however, the Braves turned it over, giving the game’s final opportunity back to Enterprise.
The Wolves tried to return the favor, almost earning themselves a five-second violation on the very next sequence.
“We were looking for a screen and they just read it right and waited for it to come,” Jones said of the near turnover.
A timely timeout saved the possession, however, and it was from there that Miller took over.
The senior forward gained control of the ball on the other side of midcourt and drove her way to the basket, netting the game-deciding layup with under five seconds remaining.
The Braves had time for a desperation heave, but it fell harmlessly on the court and with that, the Wolves were headed to the semifinals.
“That is a great team. You gotta hand it to North Summit,” said Jones. “They played good, they played well. They’ve got great ball players on that team”
“(This win) is huge,” he continued. “We now play Beaver, who we’ve played twice this year. They were No. 1 team in our region. They beat us once, at home, in overtime by one point and then they beat us by four at their place. It is going to be a battle. They are a great team.”
That semifinal game is scheduled to tip off at 4:10 p.m. Friday afternoon.