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PROVO — With three minutes left in regulation at the Marriott Center in Provo, Fremont and Lone Peak were tied.
The Knights found themselves in a similar position Wednesday when they were tied with Herriman and opted to hold onto the ball for the final 1:45. The game plan worked then exactly as Lone Peak head coach Nancy Warner had hoped, with junior Ika Makeili scoring the game-winning layup with two seconds left to clinch the win.
On Saturday, the Knights, again, opted to hold the ball until only a few seconds remained in the game. It was, once again, Makeili who took the last shot; and as Makeili rose up for a deep 3-pointer, the shot missed to send the game into its first overtime period.
Senior and future Oregon State Beaver Timea Gardiner scored the first 4 points of the overtime period for the Silverwolves, but the Knights responded with freshmen Sarah Bartholomew scoring inside off an offensive rebound to tie the game with 45 seconds left.
This time it was Fremont's turn to hold onto the ball. Gardiner attacked the basket with 12 seconds left in overtime, but her shot missed. The Silverwolves got two consecutive good looks with back-to-back offensive rebounds, but neither put-back attempt fell for Fremont and the game went into a second overtime period knotted up 58-all.
A few minutes into the second overtime, future Nebraska Cornhusker Maggie Mendlson scored down low to give Fremont a 1-point lead. On the fowling possession, Makeili got the ball kicked out to her in the corner and wisely pump faked, which sent defender Mendlson flying past as she canned the 3-pointer.
Gardiner got to the line on the ensuing possession and made both free throws to tie up the game with two minutes left to play.
The Knights, once again, held the ball until the final few seconds and got the ball into Makeili's hands. The junior guard caught it on the right wing and drove baseline. This time she drained the jumper off the glass with 0.5 remaining to maintain the undefeated season and claim the 6A state championship with a 67-65 win.
"I did it for my family," an emotional Makeili said. "My family has never been to the state championship, and to win it in my hometown means a lot. … I love this team."
Makeili finished with 15 points and four assist, but the junior guard has become the closer for an undefeated Knights team. She said shedoesn't take for granted the opportunities her team affords her in crunch time. "I know my team trusts me a lot and I had to step up and do it for them."
The Knights became the first-ever team to go undefeated, 23-0, in 6A basketball, and it's something no one on the team is taking for granted.
"It's just a dream come true," guard Kailey Woolston said. "We did a great job of just focusing on the moment and not worrying about past mistakes."
Woolston scored a game-high 26 points on 50% shooting from the field and couldn't be happier to win it all with her teammates.
"We just trust each other so much, and they're honestly my best friends," Woolston said. "We do everything together and we just don't believe in defeat, so we knew we would find a way to pull it out."
The Knights went into the half trailing the Silverwolves 31-22 after struggling with the size of Fremont's frontcourt. Lone Peak sent Fremont to the line 16 times in the first 16 minutes of play.
But Lone Peak was able to get themselves back into the game, thanks to a strong second-half shooting effort where the team hit nine 3-pointers and limited Fremont to only five trips to the charity stripe.
"I'm just so happy for the girls; this means everything," Warner said. "This team has been so resilient; they always find ways to come together and come out on top."