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High school basketball: Eaton's buzzer-beater shot lifts Springville girls to 4A title tilt

TAYLORSVILLE — Through sheer will Lexi Eaton called an inbound pass into her hands with 4.2 seconds remaining and Springville behind by a point. Then somehow she raised the ball into the air and slipped it into the basket with no time remaining on the clock to escape upset for the second game in a row and ride into the 4A championship game.

The Red Devils won the game 56-55, but once again it wasn't one of the easy victories they've become accustomed to this year.

Snow Canyon battled with heart and energy all through the contest. Even behind by 11 points in the second half they never gave up hope and gave it everything they had right down to the final buzzer.

After a serious fourth-quarter comeback by the Warriors left them one shy of reaching Springville, which led 54-53, the Red Devils had the chance to extend the lead from the free-throw line with 27 seconds left. But they missed both free throws.

An ensuing jump ball went to the Warriors, who called a timeout, and gave the ball to floor leader Liz Ricks, who drove to the hole past a tough defense and put the ball into the hoop with only five seconds remaining. That shot gave the Warriors a one-point lead and a good shot at winning the ball game — if it hadn't been for Lexi Eaton.

"I'm glad she's on our team. That girl never quits. I'm sure she had her eye set on that ball, and she went for it. She knew what to do with it," said Nancy Warner after Eaton willed her final buzzer beater into the hole for the one-point win and a return chance at the title.

Eaton had just missed an off-balance five-footer with hands in her face and watched the ball go off the Warriors with 4.2 seconds left on the clock. It was then her chance to somehow get the inbounds pass and put the shot up in traffic with hands in her face. It went straight into the hoop, giving the Red Devils cause to celebrate and the Warriors a hole in the pits of their stomachs.

"Snow Canyon was awesome tonight. They played their hearts out. They just kept fighting, never gave up and played really well," said Warner.

Eaton finished with yet another game over 30 points in scoring 33 and picking up seven rebounds.

Jessica Jensen added six points, six rebounds and a pair of steals in a hard-fought effort. Sadie Clements finished with 10 points, five rebounds, six assists and three steals in a stat-filling effort.

The Warriors were balanced in all areas of the game, shooting 60 percent from behind the arc as Kylie Moore finished with 14 points and a trey, and Amy Harris added 14 points and two treys. Ricks put in 13 points.

e-mail: jolsen@desnews.com