Braves outlast Wildcats in 2OT |

Braves outlast Wildcats in 2OT

Tuesday night’s girls’ basketball game in Coalville was just what one would expect between two archrivals.

Four quarters weren’t enough to decide a winner between the North Summit Braves and the South Summit Wildcats.

Heck, even the first overtime period wasn’t enough to determine which team was better on Tuesday night.

It would take a second overtime before the Braves would take control of the game, pulling away for a 42-33 victory to improve to 14-0 on the season.

Both teams saw key players turn in clutch performances to keep the game alive. When North Summit junior Haylee McQueen tied the game at 28 with two minutes left, followed by sophomore Brena Richins giving the Braves a 30-28 advantage, South Summit junior Rachel Rydalch drew a foul, calmly stepped to the free-throw line and knocked down both free throws to send the game to overtime.

In overtime, McQueen scored to put the Braves on top again, but South Summit junior McKaye Woolstenhulme knocked down a shot to ensure the game would be extended even further.

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Finally, in double overtime, McQueen hit a shot that would put the Braves up for good. Her teammates took care of the rest as the Braves picked up the hard-fought victory.

North Summit coach Ross Pace said he was very pleased with the way McQueen stepped up when her team needed her the most.

"She’s my point guard and she’s the leader," he said. "She needs to take charge like that and she did. She’s a good basketball player."

McQueen finished the game with eight points, after being held scoreless in the first half.

But, Pace added, the Braves were kept in the game by the play of junior Kasidee Evans, who hit several big shots in the first half, as the Braves were struggling and entered the halftime break down 20-9. Evans would finish with a team-high 13 points.

"It’s quite comforting to know she can hit a big shot when we need it," he said. "She’s made some big shots throughout her career."

Senior Micaela Willoughby scored 11 points for the Braves, Ashlin Blonquist finished with six points and Richins had four points in the win.

Pace pointed to the contributions of Blonquist and Elise Richins, two freshmen, as having big impacts on the North Summit win. He also said freshman Madi Birk would have been a key contributor, too, had she not hurt her ankle in the junior varsity game.

"They’ve played a lot of basketball and they’re good players," he said. "They see the court and understand the game. That credit goes to their little league coach he did a good job with these girls. I have no problem putting any of them in at any time."

Defensively, Pace said he thought the Braves’ intensity gave them an edge as the game wore on.

"I think our press really bothered them," he said. "We work on it quite a bit. We’re a small team, so we have to play fast to beat teams."

As for the Wildcats, coach Jerry Parker said that, even though South Summit gave the Braves their closest game of the year, his team isn’t looking for any moral victories.

"We didn’t come here to walk away with a loss," he said simply. "We came here to win it."

That being said, Parker was happy with the effort the Wildcats showed from start to finish.

"Our kids played really hard," he said. "The North Summit girls played an excellent game. They stuck with it that’s why they’re 14-0. But we played hard until the end and I’m proud of them. We made some mistakes, but we were in a situation where the pressure was on [the Braves]. We were doing what we could."

But, he added, they’ll have to work on not fading down the stretch of close games.

"I don’t know if fatigue got to us at the end or what, but offensively we didn’t do a good job at the end of the game," he said. "But we’ll learn from it and we’ll gear up for next time."

Senior Alisha Lewis led the Wildcats with 11 points. Rydalch added six points, Natalie Nichols chipped in five points, Woolstenhulme added four points, Jamie McNeil had three points and Sierra Davis and Taylor Reidhead each scored two points in the loss.

North Summit and South Summit will square off in the regular-season finale on Thursday, Feb. 13, in Kamas.