RICHFIELD — It was everything anyone could want out of a state championship game as it took three overtimes to determine the 2A girls state champion Saturday night in Richfield.
Millard was finally able to put the final foul shots in the net with three seconds to go in the third OT to ice the 77-75 win.
Millard’s Riley Miller drew the final foul to go to the line.
“Honestly at that point I knew,” Miller said. “I had confidence in my team all year and through the entire tournament. They told me they had confidence in me, so I knew I could make the shots.”
After draining the shots, the clock ticked off the final seconds of what totaled 44 minutes of playing time.
“I’ve never played in a game like that,” Miller said.
Leading the Eagles was Kobree Penney, who zapped the basket with 25 points through the game including a pair of 3-pointers.
As the game went on, it became a war of attrition as player after player was sent to the bench after maxing out on fouls. It was especially hard on North Summit, which saw five players exit the game on fouls. Millard lost two players to fouls as well, and Miller ended up playing carefully through the three overtime periods as she carried four fouls with her.
“We thought when some of their players fouled out, we’d have them,” Millard coach Melanie Bassett said. However, the players off the bench proved formidable, scoring points in the overtime sessions.
As it turned out, Penney was the only starting player on either side to be unscathed in the foul war.
“I just knew I had to play smart,” Penney said. “I’m more of a threat on the floor than on the bench.” She didn’t get her first foul until the second overtime period.
- Watch replay: Millard 77, North Summit 75
The game started as the North Summit girls were led by Alyssa Richins, who starting things off by draining a pair of foul shots.
Then Millard went on a six-point run with contributions from Penney, Kadence Koyle and Eliza Swallow. North Summit’s Kennady McQueen broke up the jaunt by converting a 3-point play.
Then Millard’s Aubree Lunt filled the bucket twice from underneath, maintaining the Eagles’ lead.
North Summit’s Marci Richings went on a six-point spree of her own, punctuated by a 3-pointer fired off by Millard’s Camilla Robison.
By the time Miller hit the final bucket of the first stanza Millard was up 15-11.
At the half, the spread was the same at 27-22 in favor of the Eagles.
North Summit tied the game 40 seconds into the third stanza thanks to a 3-pointer from Hadley Richins and an inside jumper from Marci Richins.
North Summit’s girls kept catching up through the third qurter, tying the game three times before a six-point run with McQueen, Gracie Watterson and Teesha Richins resulted in a lead for North Summit.
As the third period ended, North Summit was enjoying a shift in momentum and a 41-39 edge.
It didn’t last as Millard’s Koyle snagged an offensive rebound and put it back in the bucket to knot the game again early in the fourth.
The race through the final period saw North Summit up by as much as six, but successive 3-point shots by Penney and Miller put the Eagles back in contention. A foul shot by Koyle knotted the game at 53-all, which is where it stood at the end of regulation.
Then came the overtime periods, the attrition of players to fouls and a series of twists and turns no one could predict. At the end of the first overtime period, with 16.9 seconds on the clock, Millard was up by one and trying to pass the ball inbounds when North Summit’s Marci snagged the ball, and tossed it up, giving the Braves the one-point edge. Even that didn’t last, as six seconds later Penney drained a foul shot and time expired again with a 62-62 deadlock.
In the second OT, a foul-shot by Penney that could have boosted Millard’s edge to two was called off due to a lane violation. The next play tied the game again. Toward the end of the period Miller hit a 3-pointer to take a 69-67 edge for the Eagles, but North Summit’s Melia Evans battled her way into the paint to make a basket and tied everything up again with six seconds to go.
It wasn’t until the final shots Millar nailed that the game finally ended.
The win is the second championship for Millard in three years.
“That was the craziest game I’ve ever been a part of,” coach Bassett said. “We came into this as the underdogs, but we liked it that way.”
Deseret News 3A girls all-tournament team
- MVP — Rylee Miller, Millard
- Kobree Penney, Millard
- Eliza Swallow, Millard
- Kennady McQueen, North Summit
- Gracie Watterson, North Summit
- Brinley Cornell, Kanab