2A girls' basketball: American Leadership outlasts South Sevier
Orem • Dalila Rodriguez would have preferred one of her teammates to be on the free-throw line in the closing seconds.
Rodriguez missed one of her two attempts moments earlier, and she now faced two more free throws with her team clinging to a one-point lead.
"I was actually really nervous," she said. "I tried to focus my best to make those."
She wiped the bottom of both shoes, caught the ball from the referee and quickly fired her first attempt.
She went through the same quick routine for the second and swished the second too.
The two free throws with 6.2 seconds left secured American Leadership's 41-38 victory over South Sevier in a Class 2A state girls' basketball tournament opener Friday.
"She's harder on herself than anyone," American Leadership coach Lora Mitchell said. "She was in her own head because she's a good player. She's fun to watch."
Rodriguez made nine of her 10 free throws in the game, but she said she'd prefer teammate Mauri Staheli be on the line in crunch time.
"I trust her more on the free-throw line than me," Rodriguez said.
South Sevier used a 10-0 run in the third quarter to grab control, and the Rams entered the final quarter with a seven-point lead.
"Offensively we had to be patient and pass," Mitchell said. "We kept trying to dribble through a trap. I don't know how many times I told them not to dribble through a trap, and yet clearly that's what we were doing half the game."
The Eagles chipped away at the lead before pulling even on a basket by Nikayla Wride with 2 minutes, 39 seconds left.
The Rams had a chance to go back ahead less than a minute later, but they missed on the front end of consecutive 1-and-1s.
American Leadership jumped on the opportunity by going 7 of 10 from the line over the final 2:04 to secure the win.
The Eagles advance to face Parowan, which beat North Summit 48-39 on Friday, in Thursday's 5:50 p.m. state quarterfinal at Southern Utah University.