Lone Peak led for all of 7.6 total seconds during Friday’s thrilling Region 4 title bout with Skyridge on Friday.
Turns out, that’s all it needed, however, in securing a hard-fought 36-34 win for the region championship.
A huge 3-point make by Teuila Nawahine followed up by a 3-point play by senior captain Maile Hunt proved absolutely pivotal in the game’s final minute of play, as the Knights grinded out the emotional win.
“A grind. That’s exactly what it was,” said Lone Peak coach Nancy Warner. “We kept challenging the girls to compete on every play, no matter what, and I think that’s exactly what pulled it out for us in the end. Every play matters in a game like that.”
Nawahine’s 3-pointer cut the Falcons’ lead to just 34-33 with exactly one minute remaining on the clock. A defensive stop led out to a prime opportunity to take the lead, and perhaps the win, with Hunt able to grab an offensive rebound in traffic, lay it in, and then convert on the ensuing free throw, giving her team a 36-34 lead, which proved to be the final.
“I’m so proud of her because what she did, there at the end, is exactly what we’ve been practicing on over and over and over this year,” Warner said. “I told everyone in timeouts that we needed everyone to crash the boards, and Maile — she did it. It wasn’t an easy play, but she battled for it and got the winning points for us.”
Maile’s 3-point play with just 7.6 seconds left gave the Knights their first lead of the entire night, and after a final defensive stand, Warner’s team was finally able to let loose and celebrate.
“To get a region championship is huge, but to do it like this — I just couldn’t be prouder of them,” Warner said. “Skyridge is so tough, and challenged us in so many ways, but we stayed with it and kept battling and battling until finally catching them at the end.”
Battling throughout was Kailey Woolston, who finished with a game-high 17 points while playing a huge role in keeping Lone Peak within comeback range for most of the night.
“Kailey is exactly what you saw tonight. She’s been huge for us all year,” Warner said. “She kept us in it, and then we had other girls follow her lead for what was truly a complete team win.”
Woolston battled hard with Skyridge leading-scorer Ally Blackham, who finished with a team-high 15 points. Teagan Gray added seven for the Falcons, which was matched by Nawahine, who scored seven for the Knights.
The win vaults Lone Peak into a good place heading into the state championships, which begin next week.
“Oh, it’s so huge for us,” Warner said. “We wanted to defend our region championship, sure, but momentum is everything at this time of the year and this win, and the way we did it — it really puts us in a good spot momentum-wise and we’re feeling real good going into the playoffs.”