The Tooele girls basketball team went into the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s Region 10 home game against Ogden with a seemingly comfortable 15-point lead, putting the Buffaloes well on their way to their third win in a row.
The Tigers sure made the Buffs work for it. After gradually whittling down Tooele’s lead, Ogden put together a 7-1 run in just 50 seconds to make it a 40-38 game in the final minute. However, the Buffs hit a pair of free throws down the stretch and Madi Baker came up with a key steal in the waning seconds, allowing Tooele to escape with a 42-38 win at Tooele High School.
The Buffaloes (7-9, 4-3 Region 10) seemingly had control of the game after dominating the second and third quarters. Tooele finished the first half on a 10-2 run, holding the Tigers (6-10, 3-4) without a field goal for the final 5:42 of the second quarter. Buffaloes senior Aysha Lewis sparked the run with a 3-pointer from the left corner, followed by a steal and a layup just seconds later. Baker added another corner 3 and fellow senior Emma Higley drove in for a basket as time expired to put the Buffs ahead 20-11 at halftime.
THS went on another 10-2 run in the third quarter as Ogden went more than six minutes without a field goal. Baker started the run with a baseline jumper and a driving layup, and Higley added a layup off a feed from Lewis to put the Buffs up 26-13. Rylie Hogan knocked down a baseline jumper and Breanna Beer hit from mid-range to give Tooele a 30-15 lead after three.
However, momentum shifted quickly in the fourth quarter. Ogden’s Caitlin Richardson hit a pair of 3-pointers and Rachel Davis hit another as part of an 11-2 Tigers run, which put OHS within six points at 32-26 with just under three minutes left in the game. Richardson’s third 3 of the quarter cut the lead to five with 1:47 left.
The Tigers had to put the Buffaloes on the free-throw line to keep their hopes alive, and while Tooele wasn’t perfect, it hit just enough to stay in front. Higley hit 3-of-4 from the line, sandwiched around an 0-for-2 trip by Ogden’s Juliann Stein, to extend Tooele’s advantage to 39-31. The Tigers weren’t done, as Ashlen White hit a 3 from the left corner and Baker went 1-for-2 at the foul line to keep Ogden within six.
Then, Stein converted a putback layup to make it 40-36 with 37.5 seconds left. After an Ogden timeout, the Tigers stole the ball from the Buffs, and Davis scored to pull OHS within two points — the closest the game had been since the middle of the second quarter. But Beer hit 1-of-2 from the line to make it a three-point game, and as the Tigers tried to set up for a game-tying 3-pointer, Baker came up with a steal and knocked down a free throw with 4.9 seconds left to seal the victory.
Baker led all scorers with 12 points for Tooele, while Higley and Beer each had 10. Lewis and Hogan scored five points each. The Buffs are currently third in Region 10, a game and a half behind second-place Cedar Valley and two games behind first-place Juan Diego. Tooele is half a game ahead of fourth-place Uintah entering this weekend’s games.
Stein had 10 points to lead the Tigers. Richardson had nine points, and White, Davis and Ashley Christensen each had five. Ajae Belliston and Lucy Ballard scored two points each for Ogden.
The Tooele girls are scheduled to face Ben Lomond in a Region 10 game Friday at 5:15 p.m. in Ogden, just ahead of the boys game between the two schools. After a road game against Juan Diego on Feb. 11, the Buffs will return home to face Cedar Valley on Feb. 16.