The No. 13-seeded Mountain Pointe Pride girls basketball team upset longtime head coach Miner Webster and the No. 4-seeded Highland Hawks, 49-45, to advance to the second round of the AIA 6A state tournament Wednesday night at Highland high school.
Highland led for most of the game behind excellent shooting and rebounding. Highland senior, Kamryn Brown, at 6'3, dominated the rebounding scene taking possession of the ball and returning it for shots, giving her team the advantage over Moutain Pointe early on.
"Kam Brown has been dynamite for us all year," Webster said. "On the boards she's been starting to become more aggressive offensively and she started making free throws tonight. She's been solid."
In the second quarter, the Hawks would go on a defensive stretch keeping the Pride from scoring for almost 5 minutes, allowing the Hawks to take the lead by 15.
"You're down 15 to Highland," said coach Justin Hager. "You know you're thinking okay, can we get this under single digits by the fourth quarter and just get stops?"
He adds, "There were a lot of times in the first half there were empty possessions where we didn't even get a shot off because we kept turning over the ball and I told them we gotta at least get a shot off, we gotta give ourselves the opportunity to get an offensive rebound before we can get a shot," Hagar said.
By the end of the second half, Highland led Mountain Pointe by a score of 30-14. However, sloppy shooting by the Hawks allowed the Pride to narrow the gap by three points putting the pressure on Highland for the fourth quarter.
With zero momentum lost, the fourth quarter got off to a bang with a huge block by Mountain Pointe Senior Isela Enriquez, energizing the team and the crowd.
There was no bigger play of the night, then that of Mountain Pointe freshman Faith Diggs, shooting the three in the fourth to tie up the game.
"We broke our defense on that corner three," coach Webster said of Diggs' three pointer. "We didn't control the dribbler, we let her get penetration and then she just kicked it for a three."
"Faith, our little freshman, she's cold blooded man," said coach Hager. "She's not going to hesitate. Right when she shot I knew she had it. She did a good job."
The remainder of the fourth quarter, both teams wrestled for the lead but ultimately great defense, better shot selection and ball protection held off the Hawks handing the victory to the Pride.
"We didn't force anything we played with better offense," said Hager. "I think we tried to get the ball to Kaci (Johnson) and we tried to get the ball to the side. Kaci was our floor strength and Isela (Enriquez) sort of feeds off everyone else so if we can have the other kids chip in and contribute a little bit, it's huge."
The Pride had 15 turnovers in the first half but only five in the second half.
Coach Webster on the loss, "It's tough, they're a good team and their scrappy and they're physical. They've got some shooters and they've got some size and stuff and you know it's just too bad we let them get the win."
Webster commended his girls on a great season but ultimately told his team, "The season's over because we didn't play in the third quarter and they did, and they caught up and we gave up a huge lead and so now we're done."
The Mountain Point Pride have a few days to celebrate this win.
Hager let his players know what this win would mean. "I told the guys, someone's gonna get blown out or we're gonna win. I said that's what's gonna happen." He added, "I'm just so proud of them. Their toughness and just playing for each other I think won us the game."
The team will get a day to celebrate their win. Coach Hagar has already moved onto the next game mentally. "I told them to enjoy tonight even though I won't. I gotta get ready for who we're gonna play. They can enjoy it a little while longer but you know we want to keep up the momentum."
With the first round of girls' basketball playoffs completed Wednesday night, Mountain Pointe will take on No. 5-seeded Xavier Prep at Xavier, Saturday night.