Taylorsville • Timpanogos senior guard Mercedes Riggs called her teammate Rachelle Warner on Thursday night to wish her well on her surgery the next morning. Warner had torn her ACL and meniscus in the team’s first-round game in the playoffs.
But before going under the knife, Warner had well-wishes, too.
“She wished us good luck, and said she wished she could be there,” Riggs said. “I said, ‘We’re gonna win for you.’ Obviously, it’s a semifinal, so we’re already motivated, but we really wanted to play well for her.”
With their teammate on their minds, the Timberwolves won another game in the Class 4A state tournament, reaching the championship game with a 55-49 victory over Skyline in the semifinals on Friday morning. Riggs finished with a team-high 14 points and went 4-for-4 from the free throw line in the final period.
But while Riggs starred at the end — managing to keep the ball out of the Eagles’ hands in the last minute — Timpanogos as a whole outperformed Skyline to reach its third championship game in four years.
“We had a great practice yesterday, and we knew we’d be ready to score and play well,” coach Kawika Akina said. “We haven’t had a lot of blowouts this year — just a lot of close, grind-it-out-type games. Our girls know how to play in those kinds of games.”
Riggs was stellar from the perimeter, but Eternity Galaei and Jamaica Christensen also combined for 23 points, mostly doing their work in the post. The team also forced Skyline into 18 turnovers, and four Timberwolves had multiple steals. Timpanogos was challenged by an outstanding game from Skyline senior center Miquelle Askew, who finished with 29 points and 13 rebounds. Even in the final three minutes, the Eagles went on a 6-0 run to get within four points of the Timberwolves.
But Skyline lost valuable time from the clock as Riggs played keep-away, and the Eagles tried to force a turnover instead of foul. About 50 seconds burned off the clock before Skyline finally fouled Riggs, and the senior made her shots to give Timpanogos an 8-point lead with seven seconds left.
The game started out at a frenetic pace, and the first quarter ended in a 19-19 tie. Both teams shot nearly 50 percent for the game, but turnovers killed the Eagles. The Timberwolves scored 22 points off Skyline’s giveaways.
R The Timpanogos Timberwolves reach their third final in four years.
• Three Timberwolves score in double figures, while Skyline commits 18 turnovers.
• Miquelle Askew leads the Eagles with 29 points and 13 rebounds in her final game.