Lady Tigers fall to Lady Broncos, 58-57
OREM—The season of the Lady Tigers came to an anti-climactic end last week against San Juan as the Wasatch girls basketball team fell to the Lady Broncos in overtime, 58-57.
A game-winning three-point shot in overtime sank the previously 13-1 Lady Tigers unexpectedly, and San Juan pulled off the huge upset in the first round of the 2A playoffs after finishing just ahead of Gunnison in Region 15 standings during the regular season.
“I have to give all the credit in the world to Coach Moon at San Juan and his players for playing so hard and executing a great game plan,” head coach Coke Whiteworth said. “We got out to a very slow start and just could never seem to get into any flow or rhythm. I was proud of our team’s effort overall, but San Juan just outplayed us, and so they deserved to win.”
The game featured several changes in momentum between the two teams. San Juan had full control of the game at first, jumping out to a ten-point lead in the first quarter before the Lady Tigers trimmed it to seven to start the second. Wasatch began controlling the tempo in the second behind the unified scoring efforts of juniors Manu Oliviera and Vanessa Medina, but halftime still saw San Juan with the lead, 26-22.
Wasatch took over in the third quarter, outscoring the Lady Broncos 17-12, and leading by as much as seven in the matchup, but the Lady Broncos would not go away. Fighting back in the fourth, San Juan got the better of a back-and-forth affair to tie the game and send it to overtime.
In overtime, San Juan took the initial lead, but Wasatch got it back and led by two with 15 seconds remaining. Then the Lady Broncos’ Bodell Nielson made the fateful three. A half-court heave could not save the Lady Tigers’ season, and Wasatch was sent packing.
Oliviera played an MVP-caliber game, scoring 29 points while Medina chipped in 19 points.
Despite the early playoff exit, this season was one of optimism for the much-improved Lady Tigers, who had their best season in school history, finishing with a 13-2 record. With all of their star players, including their top three scorers, returning next year, there’s cause for excitement looking to next season. Whiteworth also expresses excitement over the fan and community support, which hit a whole new level this season for the young team.
“As far as our season, as a whole, I am SO proud of the effort our girls put forth every day in practice to make sure we were always working to make each other better,” Whiteworth said. “We had some tremendous growth from our junior class leaders, and I expect they will play a huge role in the team’s development between now and next season. I am so thankful for such supportive parents, fans, and administration. Because of them, the girls feel very happy about the season, and are hungry to be even better next season.”