Tooele ended the season one game short of reaching the post-season playoffs. After a mid-season slump where they lost five in a row, the Buffaloes needed to win four of their final five Region 11 games to make the playoffs. They ended up wining three of the final five to finish 5-7, one game behind Stansbury and Ogden.
The Buffs were still in the chase heading into the final region game against secondplace Bear River Thursday night at home. But a rough first half put the Buffaloes in a 24-8 hole at intermission and they were unable to recover. Tooele made a game of it with a second-half surge, but the Bears held on to post a 47-39 victory.
Tooele had trouble in the early going confronting a three-quarter-court press by the Bears and fell behind 7- 0 before Taylor Thomas scored inside to slice the lead to 7-2. Lizzi Stewart nailed a pair of free throws to close out the first quarter with Bear River up 9-4.
Tooele managed only a pair of free throws in the first six minutes of the second quarter until Marina Jaramillo connected on an inside basket and the Buffaloes trailed 24-8 at halftime. Tooele still trailed by 16 points midway through the third quarter when Brooke Slade knocked down a 3-pointer from the left angle to slice the lead to 28-15 with four minutes to go in the quarter. Four consecutive foul shots by Baylee Hansen and Jaramillo closed the gap to 31-19 and the Buffs trailed 33-20 heading into the final quarter.
Tooele scored the first three points in the fourth quarter to slice the lead down to 10 on a foul shot by Carlee Bunn and an offensive rebound basket by Jaramillo. Six straight foul shots helped the Buffaloes cut the Bear River lead down to 42-35 with 1:48 left in the game. Slade made a pair of free throws and Thomas added four during the run. Tooele got as close as 45- 39 with 46 seconds left in the game, but the Bears were able to hold on for the victory. Becca Smaellie had to sit on the bench for most of the game with foul trouble.
Jaramillo scored 13, Slade 7, Thomas 6, Stewart 5, Smaellie 3, Bunn 3 and Hansen 2.