Girls basketball: Woods Cross erases double-digit deficit to beat Roy

Wednesday , February 14, 2018 - 10:34 PM

WOODS CROSS — For awhile, it seemed like Roy had it all working. Josie Williams was making baskets at her usually gaudy rate and Brittney Hatch caught fire from 3-point range.

Little by little, Woods Cross put dents into a double-digit Roy lead. A steal here, a tipped pass there, a smart bounce pass in traffic.

It wasn’t one player that willed the Wildcats’ 57-53 comeback win over Roy (15-5, 6-2 Region 5) on Wednesday. One can argue a few players made their mark.

“We’ve kind of been gutsy all year, that’s the kind of girls they are,” Woods Cross head coach Dave Simon said.

Riley Aiono’s free throw put Woods Cross up 54-53 late in the fourth quarter. This was after her buzzer-beating putback heading into halftime, which was two of her 11 points.

Sara Noel led the Wildcats with 18 points and started the fourth quarter with a casual 3-pointer before splitting a double team on the left wing and banking in a shot that put them ahead 48-47.

Noel tightly guarded Hatch in the second half, limiting the Roy senior to three points after she went off for 15 in the first half.

Olivia Barton’s buzzer-beater layup in the third quarter tied the score at 43, completing a 15-3 run for Woods Cross.

On defense, Barton pressured the Roy ball handler nearly every possession in the second half.

Woods Cross led 54-53 when Barton forced a five-second call. Later, on a Roy inbound with 36.6 seconds left, Barton tipped a pass that Paige McKenna took the other way before getting fouled.

“She’s an amazing defender and it’s super fun to play with her, you know you can always rely on her to get the ball back,” Noel said.

Williams scored 12 of her 22 points in the first quarter, but the Wildcats made Roy’s entry passes into the paint difficult in the second half, slowing her down enough to chip away at the deficit.

Woods Cross has now defeated the Region 5 co-champions Viewmont and Roy in back-to-back games, sending their confidence through the roof and making them a dangerous No. 3 seed next week in the state tournament.

“They made plays, they made shots and that happens, and they fueled off of it. Sometimes you just have to tip your hats and say it. Woods Cross played well,” Roy head coach Carolyn DeHoff said.

The loss for Roy didn’t torpedo the Royals’ hopes of a deep tournament run. They’ll be the No. 1 seed after they won a coin flip between their principal and Viewmont’s principal.

You can reach prep sports reporter Patrick Carr at pcarr@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @patrickcarr_ or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/patrickcarr17.

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