(Photo: Keith Johnson, Deseret News)
RICHFIELD — Trailing by a point in the final minute, and needing a quick basket, Beaver called a timeout to set up one of the team's favorite plays.
The play was designed to work the ball into the post to senior forward Bonnie Yardley and allow her to release a short-range fadeaway jumper. It sounded really good in theory. The only problem is that Yardley had been held scoreless up to that point. With her struggling on offense, it seemed like a calculated risk to get her the ball.
Taking a risk paid off when Yardley drained the go-ahead jumper with 20.1 seconds left and lifted the Beavers to a 37-32 victory over Enterprise on Saturday afternoon and helped them claim their first 2A championship since 2005. Yardley finished the game with just those two points. But those points were perhaps the most important for her team on the night.
And the senior knew it.
"I just knew I had to put that in," Yardley said. "My team was counting on that. I was counting on that. It was the only one of mine I had made the whole game. I was glad it went in."
Beaver coach Jon Marshall never doubted that going to her in the post was his team's best option because she had come through on many other occasions in past games. "I had confidence she'd make it," Marshall said. "It set up just perfect and Bonnie did a great job of staying calm and putting it in."
Tiffany Gillins and Brittany Griffiths both made a pair of free throws to ice the game in the final 11.4 seconds after Yardley made it 33-32.
It capped an 8-0 run for the Beavers in the final 1:51 of regulation. Enterprise looked to have all the momentum squarely in its corner up to that point after Tressa Lyman and Jodi Williams scored a pair of baskets apiece over four consecutive possessions to help the Wolves mount a 10-0 run that gave them a 32-29 lead.
To its credit, Beaver kept its poise even when things looked bleak.
"We all just stayed calm," junior forward Hannah Snyder said. "That's one thing that helped us pull through is we just kept our heads level the whole time."
It also helped that Enterprise could not hang onto the ball. The Wolves committed 18 total turnovers — part of the reason why their offense shut down over the final two minutes of the game.
Marshall said a familiarity with Enterprise — who the Beavers met twice in region play this season — helped them formulate a sound defensive game plan.
"We know each other really well," Marshall said. "And our kids just kind of knew what they were looking for and made some great plays." Enterprise could not create any separation from Beaver during the first half, mainly because the Beavers lit it up from the perimeter at just the right times.
The Wolves carved out a 7-2 lead late in the first quarter. Much of that advantage was wiped away when Brittney Blackner drilled a 3-pointer with 00.6 seconds left in the quarter to make it a one possession game. Lyman went to work in the second quarter to help Enterprise reapply a dominant tone. Lyman stole a pass and took it in for a layup to open up the quarter. She made a couple of free throws and then added another layup as time went on — giving the Wolves a 14-8 lead with 3:38 left before hafltime.
But the Beavers chewed through Enterprise's perimeter defense during the final two minutes of the half. Starting with a 3-pointer from Tiffany Gillins, Beaver dialed it in from long distance on three consecutive possessions to overtake the Wolves and claim a 18-16 halftime lead.
Out of the six first-half field goals the Beavers made, all but one of those came behind the three-point line.