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High school girls basketball: Springville’s Lauryn Deede puts bow on the COVID-19 season with a buzzer beater to clinch 5A title

SHARE High school girls basketball: Springville’s Lauryn Deede puts bow on the COVID-19 season with a buzzer beater to clinch 5A title

Springville celebrates after beating Farmington in the 5A girls basketball championship at Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville on Saturday, March 6, 2021.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Box score

Amid the chaos and anxious screams of fans as the 5A state championship clocked ticked from five to four to three, Springville’s Ellie Esplin could still hear the screams from teammate Lauryn Deede.

With Farmington’s defense collapsing on Esplin on the left angle outside the 3-point line, the sophomore spotted Deede drifting unguarded cross court near the free-throw line. She quickly lobbed a pass to her senior teammate who caught the ball with 1.8 seconds remaining and her team trailing by one.

Deede admitted after the game she had no idea how much time was left on the clock — she just knew she needed to hurry. With an open lane to the basketball thanks to a screen down low from Addiysn Johnson, Deede took one dribble and attacked the rim.

It was clear she would have an uncontested layup. The only question that remained: Would she beat the horn?

Indeed she did. As the layup attempt left Deede’s hand and hit the backboard, the red lights behind the backboard went off, but by that point it didn’t matter. Deede had beaten the clock and in the process clinched Springville’s 39-38 win over Farmington at SLCC for its first state title since back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014.

“I wanted to score — we needed to score. I was just playing basketball,” said a noticeably shaking Deede as she spoke with reporters as teammates and students celebrated around her.

“It’s overwhelming. I don’t know if I want to laugh or cry.”

“It’s overwhelming. I don’t know if I want to laugh or cry.” — Springville’s Lauryn Deede

Springville coach Holli Averett was among the thousand anxious fans staring at the backboard to see if Deede would beat the clock.

“She was so athletic, you could just see it was going in from the beginning. There was much composure,” said Averett.

The emotion was just as overwhelming for Farmington. Ten seconds earlier Abigail Ferrell had floated in a free-throw line jumper out of a timeout to give Farmington the 38-37 lead.

Springville’s coach said there was no way she was going to call a timeout and let Farmington set up its defense.

“I was hoping that in transition not calling a timeout that our momentum would take us because I knew if we called a timeout they were playing pretty good D, we couldn’t get a good look. It paid off,” said Averett.

Deede quickly grabbed the ball after Ferrell’s make and got it inbounds to Kayla Jackson, who raced up court. Jackson nearly lost the ball at midcourt, but regained it after a Farmington player tipped her dribble briefly. She passed the ball to Esplin, who was realistically in no-man’s land and about one second away from a very low-percentage desperation heave of a 3-pointer.

Averett said it was fitting that Esplin was there to make the championship-winning pass with how much she’s improved this year. She didn’t play varsity last year in Springville’s runner-up finish to Highland at state, but Averett called upon her after this season.

“Ellie didn’t get any time last year so for her to step up this year and be our point guard, play great defense and be a great passer is huge. She improved so much through the season and because of that she made that awesome pass,” said Averett.

It turned out to be Esplin’s only assist of the game, as the wide-open layup gave Deede a team-leading 14 points.

Farmington’s Delaney Baker led Farmington with a game-high 16 points in a game that was a predictable defensive grind as both teams pride themselves on that side of the court.

Averett knew it would be the toughest defense test of the season for her players.

“Farmington is a great team — they have a big, they have shooters, they’re guards are good, they’re quick. I just felt we had to play complete defense without fouling, which we didn’t do the whole game,” said Averett.

For as great as the defense was, it was clean defense with just 20 total fouls called the entire game.

Springville led 18-13 at the half and pushed it to 21-13 on a 3-pointer from Jackson to start the third quarter. Farmington responded with a 12-0 run as it held Springville scoreless for seven minutes, building a 25-21 lead.

Just when it seemed the game might be getting away, Springville’s Kayla Porray answered with a 3-pointer and then Esplin hit a floater in the lane at the third quarter buzzer as the Devils regained the 26-25 lead.

The lead changed hands four times early in the fourth quarter, and then was tied at 34-34 and then 36-36 late in the quarter.

With the score tied with 28 seconds remaining, Esplin connected on one of two free throws to put the Red Devils ahead 37-36. Ferrell’s spin move and jumper at the top the free-throw line with 10 seconds left was the fifth lead change of the quarter, but Deede’s heroics made sure it wasn’t the last.

Deseret News 5A All-Tournament Team

MVP — Lauryn Deede, Springville

Kayla Jackson, Springville

Addisyn Johnson, Springville

Delaney Baker, Farmington

Valerie Kunzler, Farmington

Macie Warren, Lehi