Taylorsville • The Mountain Crest girls’ basketball team had a shooting problem.
When the Mustangs were hot from the free-throw line in the first half, they couldn’t shoot from the field. When they finally got some offense going, they struggled from the line.
Mountain Crest 61, Salem Hills 54
The Mustangs take control using a 23-10 scoring advantage in the third quarter.
Both Karlee Kartchner and Emily Moore get double-doubles for Mountain Crest.
Lyssa Hanks and Kiley Williams combine for 22 rebounds for the Skyhawks.
But Mountain Crest put enough together to get a 61-54 win over Salem Hills, which punched the Mustangs’ ticket to the semifinals of the Class 4A state tournament. Boosted by a 23-10 run in the third quarter, Mountain Crest took a lead it would never surrender.
Karlee Kartchner led the effort with 23 points and 16 rebounds, and was a menace in transition when the Skyhawks stumbled.
"I told her before the game, ‘You’re gonna be double-teamed, you’re gonna be fouled, it’s gonna be tough,’" coach Candace Thornton said. "But she fought through the fouls and the bumps. She stepped up to the challenge."
The Mustangs as a team rose to the occasion, outrebounding Salem Hills and shooting 54 percent from the field in the second half as they took control. Emily Moore also had a double-double effort with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
The lead grew as great as 14 points, but Mountain Crest’s shakiness on the foul line led to quick buckets for the Skyhawks as the clock wound down. With 42 seconds left, Salem Hills was within five points, but the Mustangs recovered and forced some misses on defense to hold on.
"I’ll take it — a win is a win," said Thornton.
Salem Hills pulled ahead in the first half 31-26 on the strength of a quick-starting offense. Hailey Ingram led the Skyhawks with 17 points in the game.
But Mountain Crest also succeeded in quieting 6-foot-4 senior center Lyssa Hanks, who finished with eight points. If Kartchner needed any extra motivation, outplaying Hanks was it.
"Yeah, I’m not the tallest post, so it was exciting to go against her," she said. "I thought we did a good job keeping her from having a huge game."
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