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What a comeback: Wasatch overcomes 14-point deficit to earn spot in 5A semifinals

What a comeback: Wasatch overcomes 14-point deficit to earn spot in 5A semifinals

(Spenser Heaps, KSL)


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TAYLORSVILLE — Wasatch’s Tori Dorius wasn’t afraid to admit how she was feeling as she stepped to the free throw line with 12.4 seconds left.

“I was terrified,” Dorius said. “I’m not going to even try and sugarcoat it. I was so scared.”

Scared because, with two free throws, she could complete a 14-point second-half comeback. But, if Dorius was scared, she didn’t look like it.

Dorius stepped to the line and calmly drained both shots, giving Wasatch an improbable 55-54 win over Box Elder in the 5A quarterfinals.

“We’ve been the one-and done the first two years here, so it's really great to see these girls be able to go out on a high note,” Wasatch coach Norman Hayter said.

They aren’t done, yet, though.

And that’s because of Dorius, who did far more than just drain two late free throws, finishing with a game-high 20 points and 11 rebounds. That’s because of Lexy Mackay, who fought through a knee injury to drain four 3-pointers, including two in the final minutes as Wasatch made its final move. And it’s because of a team with eight seniors who simply didn’t want to see their season end.

“It was a really good sign of character on their part," Hayter said. “They didn’t try to force things. A lot of times in those situations, when you get excited like that, you tend to force it and make it happen instead of letting it happen. We did a good job of just letting things happen and chipping away and chipping away.”

In the third quarter, Box Elder led 48-34 and looked to be coasting into a semifinal matchup with East. The Bees had seized the lead with an 18-4 run in the first half and looked to be in full control heading down the stretch.

But back came the Wasps.

The comeback started slow. Wasatch got a few buckets and a couple of stops, and the Box Elder lead hovered around the 10-point mark for much for the first few minutes of the fourth quarter.

Things didn't get really interesting until Dorius scored a layup to cut the Box Elder lead to seven with just under three minutes left. And then came what might have been the biggest shot of the night.

Using a timeout, Hayter designed a play for Mackay to get an open look at a 3-pointer. Hurt knee and all, she came through — burying the triple and cutting the deficit to only four points.

“I was a little bit worried because I hurt my knee the last game,” said Mackay, who scored 12 points. “I figured I would give it all I have because this is my last chance and it turned out well.”

Really well, in fact. And she wasn't done.

Wasatch’s McKell Gagon got a huge steal, and Hayter once again called a timeout to set up yet another 3-point look for Mackay. Once again, she nailed the shot.

"They did a great job of getting a shot," Hayter said. "Give them (his players) all the credit — they are the ones out there having to do everything."

After Mackay's second fourth-quarter triple, the Wasps were suddenly down just one point.

On their final possession, they got it to Dorius down low and then she did the rest. She went up strong, drawing the foul that sent her to the line for the two game-winning free throws.

"I just told myself, 'These are going in, these are going in. No matter what, these have to go in,'" Dorius said.

And they did.

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