On Saturday, Feb. 29, 1992, the Tooele girls basketball team trounced Pine View View 66-36 in the Class 3A state championship.
Then-coach Susan Rydalch, after winning it all in her 12th season at the helm at Tooele, earned her first state championship with the team.
“I’ve been waiting for this my whole life,” she told the Tooele Transcript Bulletin through tears on that 1992 leap day. “I’m extremely proud of the girls.”
“These girls deserved to win the championship,” Rydalch was also quoted. “They have dedicated themselves and given everything they have to win a state championship. They are the most unselfish, team oriented and talented group of kids I’ve ever coached. I’m proud of every one of them.”
That team won 18 games in a row after losing a pre-region contest to Provo in early January, Transcript Sports Editor Nick Drake wrote in his March 3 article. It was the only loss the Buffaloes suffered all season, finishing 23-1.
Drake wrote the Tooele girls basketball team “used its relentless defensive intensity and overall unselfish team play to dominate a deep Pine View squad.” He also wrote all five starters in Shannon Lopez, Terri Jacobs, Leslie Call, Karie Johnson and Darcy Hayes each averaged double-figure scoring over the course of the season.
Rydalch told the Transcript Bulletin on Wednesday all five of the starting players that season had offers to play basketball in college on scholarship.
“The Lopez parents promised the girls a white limo to take the girls to state if they won region,” Rydalch recalled in a Wednesday phone call, also noting how “cocky” the Pine View Coach was during the state championship bout.
It was the first girls hoops title in Tooele since the 1976-77 campaign, which the second year girls basketball was a sanctioned sport by the Utah High School Activities Association.
But the story of the tournament was the semifinal game against Emery.
“The Emery game really should have been the championship game. It was so close. We were down by 10 points with four minutes left,” Rydalch said Wednesday. “We came back and scored eight points in like 24 seconds. It was amazing, we put the press on and my guards kept stealing it.”
Of that semifinal, Drake wrote Tooele was down 47-37 with 6:47 remaining. He wrote Hayes scored 10 points and stole the ball four times in the final quarter.
“The Lady Buffs scored 11 straight points in only two furious minutes to take a 48-47 advantage,” he wrote. “Hayes and Call sparked the decisive run with two steals and two buckets each. Jacobs scored a layup off a perfect pass from Hayes and added a free throw to spot Tooele a slim edge.”
Tooele iced the game from the foul line from there, holding on to win 64-61 and advance to the final.
Rydalch, who according to the UHSAA record book, is 14th all-time in career victories at the same school. She earned 206 career wins at Tooele High School, where she coached from 1982-99.
Since Ryldalch left the team, she said there have been nine head coaches.
“I just would really like to see the girls program get back on track,” she said. “I’m really happy with the way [first-year] coach [Randy] Goss has taken the girls this far.”
Last season, the Buffaloes improved to win seven games and earn a berth to the state tournament after missing the playoffs the previous year.