Despite 24 points from Courtney Schiwal, the Tooele Lady Buffaloes fell to the Hurricane Tigers on Friday 78-53 in the first round of the 3A state basketball tournament.
The Lady Buffs kept the deficit within 10 points during the first half, but the Tigers came out in the third quarter and exploded for a 17-4 run that put the game out of reach.
“They out-hustled us,” said THS coach Kris Ashby. “Hurricane didn’t do anything that we hadn’t seen before throughout the game and in the second half; we just got outplayed.”
Taylor Thomas hit two free throws late in the third quarter to stop Hurricane’s run, but the Tigers outscored the Lady Buffs by a total of 21-7 for the entire quarter. By then, there wasn’t enough time for the Lady Buffs to mount a comeback.
The two teams traded the lead in the early going. Hurricane opened with a 3-0 advantage after a two-point basket and then a free throw on a later possession. Thomas located Schiwal to put the Lady Buffs on the board with a baseline jump shot.
Amber Haskell then found Schiwal for a 3-pointer that gave Tooele the lead at 5-4. However, Hurricane snagged it right back with its own 3-pointer. Haskell assisted Schiwal on a layup to tie the game at 7, but then Hurricane closed the first quarter on an 8-2 run to take a 15-9 lead into the second quarter.
The Tigers tried to break open the game in the second quarter, but the Lady Buffs managed to hang around a while longer. Following a basket that made the score 19-12, Baylee Hansen picked up a steal and dished a pass over to Haskell. She was fouled on her shot and went to the line and sank one free throw. She fought for the offensive rebound, and the ball went out of bounds off Hurricane. Unfortunately, the Lady Buffs turned the ball over an over-the-back foul.
With Hurricane leading 29-20, Aubrey Vanderwerken nailed a 3-pointer on an assist from Thomas to keep the Lady Buffs within striking distance. But then the Tigers ended the quarter on a 6-2 run to maintain a 10-point gap.
Senior center Hannah Webber is the only starter the Lady Buffs will lose to graduation. So most the Lady Buffs that now have playoff experience under their belts will be back again next year.
“The opportunity to be here, I think that’s one thing that’s been different that we’ve been trying to work toward,” Ashby said. “I think that’s something that should be part of Tooele High School every year, and I think that’s the biggest thing to take away. Next year, we can get to the next round and take another step.”