Orem • Overtime seemed a fitting way to begin the season in the battle between the reigning 4A and 5A girls’ basketball state champions.
Timpanogos forward Jamaica Christensen took over with her team trailing by three in the extra period. She scored a pair of baskets and then converted four consecutive free throws on her way to 27 points to lead the Timberwolves past Syracuse 56-52 in overtime Tuesday.
“We worked really hard in the offseason, so to come out and get a win over such a tough team is really satisfying,” Christensen said.
Early on, it was Timpanogos’ fast break that looked to be in midseason form. The Timberwolves cruised to a 19-8 lead after one quarter.
But Syracuse, which leaned on a host of new contributors, stormed back on the strength of a 16-0 run. The Titans took their first lead of the game with less than a minute remaining in the first half, but Timpanogos guard Katie Henderson dropped an open 10-footer to give the home team a 25-24 lead at intermission.
“We didn’t play great tonight, but I thought defensively, having 20 steals kept us in the game,” Timpanogos coach Kawika Akina said.
Syracuse hung around in the second half because of Paige Trimble’s outside jumpers and the inside work by Takenna Hamblin.
Syracuse trailed 44-40 with just more than a minute to play, but Hamblin converted a three-point play, and another free throw down the stretch sent the game to overtime.
But Christensen simply would not be denied in the extra period. The athletic forward took an inside feed for a basket from Kailey Avery, then stole a Syracuse pass and ran the length of the floor and converted the basket to put her squad on top for good.
“I have a lot of new kids this year, and I thought tonight our younger players learned and certainly showed that they don’t like to lose,” Akina said.
Timberwolves 56, Titans 52 (OT)
R Timpanogos forward Jamaica Christensen makes four straight free throws late in overtime.
• Timpanogos center Eternity Galeai took a hard fall early in the third period and did not return.