<strong>BRIGHAM CITY—</strong> Down by nine points to Box Elder at the start of the fourth quarter, Sky View head coach Kimber Hall challenged his girls to play tougher defense and get back into the game. The Bobcats responded in a big way, forcing turnovers and outscoring the Bees 20-9 in the fourth quarter to secure a tight 65-63 victory in their regular-season finale.
“The girls’ feelings were that we could come back and win,” Hall said. “My feelings were if we could just get a couple of steals and get within five or six points, they’ll struggle and we can win this thing.”
Tara Goldman scored 25 points while Kendra Falslev and Danee Evans added 15 and 13 points, respectively, to help Sky View (17-4, 7-3) avoid a letdown before entering the state playoffs next week. Lindsey Warner had 14 points to lead Box Elder (12-9, 3-7), which is now in a three-way tie with Mountain Crest and Roy for the fourth (and final) Region 5 playoff spot.
“I just didn’t want to go into the state tournament with a loss,” Hall said. “That would’ve been horrible. We wouldn’t have the team spirit we’d have if we stick together and win. All the girls played with a lot of heart.”
For at least one half, Box Elder was the team that appeared to be playing with heart. Defensive miscues by the Bobcats allowed the Bees to get numerous easy baskets and take a 35-27 halftime lead. They increased that lead by one in the third quarter, before Sky View came storming back.
“McKenley (Hellstern) didn’t score, but she played good defense and really took care of our offense and things fell together for us,” Hall said. “Kendra hit a couple big shots, Lindsey (Jensen) had a huge 3, and Tara had a couple big foul shots near the end.”
Sky View led by five on a pair of Jensen free throws with less than a minute to go, and withstood a Box Elder 3-pointer and free throws to hold on to the win. Sky View moves on to the state tournament at Salt Lake Community College next week, where their lower-bracket seeding allows them to avoid unbeaten teams Springville and Bonneville until later rounds.
Hall has been pleased with the fight his team, especially his seniors, have shown this season, and sees their never-give-up attitude as a sign that they can go far in the postseason.
“Our seniors have been great, they’ve all hung together,” Hall said. “I think the Bonneville game, though we lost by one, proved to the girls that if we get a shot at them again in the tournament, we can play with them or anyone else.”