SOUTH JORDAN — With the game tied at 51-51, with four seconds left and the clock ticking, Copper Hills’ Eleyana Tafisi got the ball above the break on the left wing, drove in and attempted a floater. Bingham was whistled for the foul, and with 0.3 seconds left, Tafisi went to the line for two free throws and the win.
Tafisi sank both free throws to give Copper Hills a dramatic 53-51 win over Bingham on the road Wednesday night, capping off a 13-point night for the junior guard.
“I have to tip my hat to Eleyana Tafisi. To step to the free throw line, in a loud gym, on the road, against a rival, and to knock down two free throws, it takes ice water and she has that in her veins. She is relentless in the way she plays and I was happy to see her put in that situation and to see her come through,” Copper Hills coach Ben Morley said.
Emily Larsen scored nine points, while Lenisi Fineanganofo and Breaunna Gillen each contributed seven points apiece for the Grizzlies.
“I think what I’m most proud of is, we had a lot of adversity in this game, especially late when I feel like we had the game under control and then we made a couple bad decisions, couple bad plays, but the team hung together. Everybody that played gave us something and we stayed together and played together as a team,” Morley said.
Tafisi’s free throws ended a back-and-forth fourth quarter in a game that truly came down to the last second. After a fastbreak layup by Larsen put Copper Hills put the Grizzlies up 49-44 with 2:15 remaining, Bingham went on a 5-0 run powered by a Samantha Holman and-one and an Ameleya Angilau fastbreak layup that tied the game at 49-all with 1:35 left to play. With a minute remaining, Tafisi hit a layup to give Copper Hills a two-point lead. Bingham responded with 11 seconds left when Maggie McCord tied the game at 51. Tafisi scored the final two points of the game on her free throws.
“We wouldn’t expect anything other than a crazy end, a competitive game, playing against Bingham. I don’t think there’s two programs in the state that know each other better than Bingham and Copper Hills and part of that is because the players have played together for a long time, they know each other, they’re good friends,” Morley said. “Anytime we get together, it’s going to be a back-and-forth affair. We just happened to be just good enough to win this game tonight, but it could have gone either way.”
McCord led Bingham with 23 points, while Angilau added 12 points.
“Bingham, they’ve got a lot of wins ahead of them and they’re going to have a real successful season. It was one of those games where neither team shot the ball very well. It was going to come down to who could get a stop or two in the fourth quarter and who could make free throws,” Morley said.