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TAYLORSVILLE — The Skyline girls basketball team appeared to be cruising to its 98th title in school history, the second-most all-time in Utah high school athletics.
But Judge Memorial had other ideas. The Bulldogs erased a 38-25 halftime deficit and sent the Class 4A state championship game to overtime on Miyalla Tarver’s 3-pointer with six seconds remaining.
Skylie's Hannah Anderl told her team not to panic and neither did she.
Anderl had 12 points, five rebounds and three assists, and teammate Barrett Jessop scored a team-high 20, to help Skyline hold off Judge Memorial 60-57 in overtime Saturday in the 4A state title game at Salt Lake Community College.
"It's an unbelievable feeling to finally win it," said Anderl, whose team won its first state title since 2005.
Anderl, who was named tournament MVP, admitted she was nervous when the Eagles’ top post defender Cameron Mooney fouled out with 3:46 remaining in regulation.
But Skyline went to work in the extra period. After the Bulldogs won the opening possession, the Eagles grabbed a rebound and ran a spread offense to a three-minute long possession capped by Kiana Eskelson’s bucket inside with 1:06 left in overtime.
And Skyline never trailed again.
“I think we had a lot of nerves going around in that fourth quarter. I was scared; I knew they were coming back,” Anderl said. “But we knew we could stay in it, and we stayed focused, stayed composed and finished it off strong.”
Class 4A All-Tournament Team
|Hannah Anderl (MVP)||Skyline|
|Vanessa Austin||Judge Memorial|
|Mayree Ellis||Judge Memorial|
|Keslee Stevenson||Box Elder|
The Eagles jumped out to an early lead when Jessop scored four of the team’s six first-half 3-pointers en route to the 13-point halftime advantage.
The junior point guard flicked in her fourth three with 1:38 left in the half, then scored on a jumper in transition with five seconds left to give Skyline its 13-point halftime lead.
“I knew that win or lose, it was the last game of the season. I had to put it all out there,” said Jessop, who finished with a team-high 20 points. “It was the last game for my seniors, and I wanted to give it all I had. I wanted to fulfill a dream; everyone’s dream on this team was to get a state title.”
If the Bulldogs were down at the break, somebody forgot to tell Vanessa Austin.
Austin capped a 12-2 run to cut Judge Memorial’s deficit to four, 42-38, with 1:13 left in the third quarter. The senior scored 18 of her game-high 22 points in the second half.
Mooney fouled out with 3:46 left in the game, exiting with three points and three rebounds but also four blocks.
Mayree Ellis scored four of her 11 points with 1:30 left in the game to give the Bulldogs a 52-51 lead, their first since opening the game up 2-0.
Skyline took the advantage back, but Tarver’s last-ditch 3-pointer — her second of the game as she finished with 14 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals — sent the game to an extra session.
“I just said, ‘This is our time. This is our time to win.' We had been there twice already, and I knew what it was like to go home without a trophy,” Skyline coach Lynette Schroeder said. “That really hit hard. They wanted it bad.”
The Eagles used a stifling defense, slowed down the game and didn’t let Judge Memorial take advantage after missing its first shot after the opening tip. Skyline ran nearly two minutes off the clock by spreading out the Bulldogs, and Judge Memorial could never recover.
Skyline didn't have one dominant player, instead relying on a cast of characters that rotated around a consistent Anderl to claim wins over 4A frontrunner Alta and upstart Timpview prior to Saturday's championship.
“We were pumped,” Jessop said. “We’ve been in this situation before, and didn’t get first. We were going to get it this time. We were determined.”