MILLVILLE — You could hear the screams of joy emanating from the locker room all the way down the hall from the doors of the gym.
Sky View, a team suddenly on a roll, pulled off the upset of the girls basketball season in Region 11 so far, spoiling Ridgeline’s Senior Night by downing the Riverhawks, 54-51, for a huge league victory.
Ridgeline, the number one team in the UHSAA RPI rankings, had a 10-game win streak snapped which included all seven Region 11 games up until Thursday’s contest. Since the start of the 2017-18 season, the Riverhawks (15-5, 7-1 region) have only lost three league games prior to the loss to Sky View (10-10, 5-3). Taking down the 2018-19 4A state runner-ups and perennial Cache Valley powerhouse was a big deal for the Bobcats.
“This is one we wanted,” SV head coach Vanessa Hall said. “Ridgeline is the top of the region, it’s been that way for a couple of years. We’ve wanted to get a game from them, been close in the past and they’ve just been able to pull away in the end.”
The game came down to the final possessions with Sky View clinging to a lead built by a 7-3 run in the middle of the fourth. With 18 seconds to play, the Bobcats had a 52-48 lead and Macy Hellstern at the line for the bonus. Hellstern sank the first but clanked the second off the rim.
Ridgeline went down to the other end, and Haley Anderson drained a 3-pointer to cut the score to 52-51 with seven seconds on the clock. That put the pressure on Kyleigh Traveller who took the foul from Ridgeline and then carried the responsibility of making two free throws or risk losing on a prayer shot from the Riverhawks.
Traveller’s first attempt from the line sank through without much fanfare — except the increasingly loud cheers of the Sky View faithful — but the second free throw jumped off the rim and nearly above the backboard. After a heart-stopping moment, the ball came back down inside the cup and through the bottom of the net.
“It was scary,” Traveller said of that second free throw. “I didn’t think about it too much. I was just like ‘I’ve just got to make this.’ So I did.”
Ridgeline did get a chance for a 3-pointer, but the play didn’t go very smoothly. Brayli Jenks’ attempt from beyond the arc failed to find its mark.
Jenks missing her game-saving three-ball shot was a microcosm of her night and most of the Riverhawks’ offense as a whole. The senior guard missed 10 of her 11 attempts from deep. Her backcourt partner, Anderson, who hit the crucial triple to give Ridgeline the brief window for victory, made only 2 of 6 threes on the night. Ridgeline as a whole made a mere 36.3 percent of all field goals in the game.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well,” Ridgeline head coach Ainsli Jenks said. “We had opportunities, credit to Sky View’s defense, they were contested shots but we just weren’t knocking them down.”
Aside from poor shooting, the Riverhawks were forced into a highly disadvantageous position due to foul trouble. Emma Anderson sat the final 3:49 of the first half after taking two fouls. Sitting her had the consequence of Ridgeline being unable to pull away late in the half, though they held the lead at the break. Emma Anderson did come back to dominate the third quarter, helping the Riverhawks to their biggest lead of five points with 1:37 left in the third.
However, Emma Anderson took another two fouls late in the third, forcing her to sit for the start of the fourth. In the brief 90 seconds of game time she spent on the pine, the Bobcats flipped a 39-37 Riverhawks lead to a 42-39 advantage for the visitors.
Other players who had foul trouble, though mostly to a lesser degree, were Jenks (four fouls), Nia Damuni (three) and Brinlie Crosbie (three). These troubles forced coach Jenks to reach deep into her bench to play two freshmen — Adeline Fiefia and Caitly Parry — who would not have normally played in such a tight game.
“We like to attack and so it was a bonus that they got into foul trouble,” Hall said. “Sometimes you attack and the refs don’t call it, but tonight they were calling it, (Ridgeline) got into trouble and we just kind of kept the pedal down. And I think it paid off. As good as Emma is, that she had to sit with foul trouble, that’s a big part of their team and so we were able to capitalize on it.”
Emma Anderson came back at the 6:21 mark and avoided fouling out, but couldn’t will her team to victory despite leading all players in both points (20) and rebounds (nine). But battling her was a major challenge for the Sky View post players.
“They are really strong post players,” Traveller said of both Emma Anderson and Crosbie. “Our gameplan was to just stop them and do double teams and help each other out. I think we helped each other a lot and it worked really well.”
Post dominance on offense wasn’t limited to just Ridgeline, though. Melanie Hiatt, the freshman post for the Bobcats, frequently came up big in the paint with bucket after bucket, scoring a team-best 18 points on 7 of 12 shooting.
WOLVES 46, GRIZZLIES 42
Green Canyon (15-4, 6-2) slipped by Logan (12-7, 4-4) thanks to its superior fourth quarter. The Wolves outscored the Grizzlies 15-9 in the final quarter, executing the slightest of rallies from a 33-32 deficit at the end of the third.
The game had notable stakes in the standings. Green Canyon entered the game in second place, two games behind Ridgeline with Logan one game behind the Wolves. A Grizzly win, plus the win from the Bobcats, would have engineered a three-way tie for second place between Green Canyon, Logan and Sky View. But the Wolves came away with a crucial win for standings purposes.
“That was an incredible defensive battle in a playoff atmosphere,” GC head coach Alexis Bird said. “I’m extremely proud of the poise and grit our girls showed all night, especially at the end with some clutch plays on both ends of the floor.”
Kinley Falslev and Kennedy Eskelson both scored in double figures for the Wolves with Falslev leading her team with 16 and Eskelson posting 11. Shante’ Falslev added nine points.
For Logan, Amber Kartchner came through as usual with her scoring, totaling a game-high 19. Emily Thurston added 10 points.
BEARS 47, MUSTANGS 43
Once again, Mountain Crest (6-14, 0-8) came close to victory, but once again, they couldn’t convert as they dropped the four-point contest on the road at Garland in what may have been their best chance to prove via their win-loss record how much better they are than last year’s team that went winless in region play.
The Mustangs held a halftime lead of 20-18, courtesy of holding the Bears (7-12, 2-6) to just five points in the second quarter, but a 9-0 run from Bear River forced the Mustangs to enter comeback mode once again. Mountain Crest took another end-of-quarter lead 32-31, but once again relinquished that advantage when the Bears went on a 5-0 run in the first minute of the fourth. From there, Bear River had only to hold off an inexperienced Mountain Crest team.
INDIANS 64, TIGERS 53
Preston, the No. 2 seed, outscored visiting Mountain Home, the No. 7 seed, by at least three points in each of the first three quarters in the quarterfinals of the 4A District 4-5 Tournament.
The Indians (16-6) were balanced offensively as they got 15 points from Mickayla Robertson, 13 from Kylie Larsen, 12 from Hailey Meek, nine from Sydnee Marlow, eight from Cassee Pugmire and seven from Alexis Harris. Robertson knocked down 5 of 7 shots from the field and also contributed with four assists and four steals.
Pugmire paced Preston with eight rebounds, while Harris came up big with six assists and a trio of steals. The Indians improved to 2-0 this season against the Tigers (12-10).
“I thought the girls played well tonight,” Preston head coach Ryan Harris said. “We were able to apply some nice pressure and create a lot of turnovers. ... The girls did a nice job offensively getting good shots and then making them. We had a season high for assists with 17 and a season low on turnovers with 11. If we continue to play like that, we’ll be tough to beat.”
Preston will now host No. 3 seed Burley on Saturday night, with the victor punching its ticket to the 4A state tournament. The Indians and Bobcats (14-8) split their games during the regular season.
HJ sports writer Jason Turner contributed to this report