The Skyridge Falcons knew a special effort would be needed to defeat Region 4 rival Lone Peak in their 6A girls basketball quarterfinal Tuesday night.

The Falcons brought their usual scrappy effort, and for much of the game it appeared it might be enough this time, but Lone Peak showed why it was undefeated and the top seed, making 14 of 15 free throws in the fourth quarter to hang on to a 50-39 victory at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.

Kailey Woolston led the way with 16 points, and Makeili Ika added 14. However, the two players will likely be remembered for their free-throw shooting accuracy in the contest’s key moments as the Knights improved their record to 21-0, including three wins over the eighth-seeded Falcons.

“It was exactly what we expected,” said Lone Peak coach Nancy Warner, who won three state titles in six seasons at Springville but has yet to finish on top in seven seasons leading the Knights.

“They (the Knights) have a lot of heart. They came at us with that 1-3-1 (zone) defense. We got off to a good start, but then had trouble taking care of the ball.”

Lone Peak led the entire game, scoring the first 11 points. In fact, it wasn’t until the first-quarter buzzer sounded that Skyridge earned its first basket. Open shots were difficult to find for both teams, and Skyridge’s Cambree Blackham and Bella Sika made the most big plays to keep the game close. 

When Kjirsten Gotberg scored on a short jumper to start the fourth quarter, the game was tied 30-30, and both teams went to their strengths to outlast the other.

“It’s a healthy rivalry and both teams know each other well,” said Skyridge coach Shaylee Nielsen. “We gave it our best effort and needed something else to go our way.”

The Falcons frustrated Lone Peak with a full-court press much of the game, and then hustled back to contest every shot. The Knights had the same idea. The teams combined to attempt just 66 shots and, in the final eight minutes, most of them were from the free-throw line.

“We wanted the ball in the hands of our shooters,” Warner said.

Each time downcourt, Woolston eagerly waived her arms and, as the clock kept ticking, she often got it.

Woolston made two charity shots to give Lone Peak a 32-30 lead. Then, after Skyridge tied the game, Naia Tanuvasa made a basket, and Woolston sank a layup and another free throw.

Woolston had nine of her points in the fourth quarter and was 7 of 7 from the line. Ika had eight points in the final minutes, and was a perfect 6-6 from the stripe.

Skyridge, in contrast, left points off the scoreboard. The Knights made 5 of 10 free throws and, when the lead started to grow, they could do nothing to prevent it.

Blackham had 12 points for the Falcons, including several layups when she drove past her opponent from the perimeter for a clear shot. Sika added 11 points.

With the loss, Skyridge finished the season with a 15-8 and was bumped from the tourney in the quarterfinals for the second straight year.

“We’re an ‘Elite Eight’ team, but we’ve got to get past that,” said Nielsen. “Our region makes us all tough; we have to get to that next level.”