Taylorsville • Springville’s Savannah Park looked to the bench and pumped her left fist – a gesture of "I got this," just before stepping to the free-throw line with 2.6 seconds left Saturday.
Instead of singing Taylor Swift lyrics in her head, she said a prayer, then drained the biggest free throws of her career – free throws that gave the Red Devils their second consecutive Class 4A state championship with a 42-40 victory against Skyline.
O Savannah Park’s two free throws with 2.6 seconds left clinch the state title for Springville.
» The Red Devils win their second consecutive title, and fourth in five years.
State champs since 2010:
2010 » Springville
2011 » Springville
2012 » Timpanogos
2013 » Springville
2014 » Springville
"I knew I needed to make those free throws," said Park, a senior. "I’d missed a lot in the first half and I knew I needed to make those."
The Red Devils’ fourth state title in five years wasn’t quite secured, though. Skyline’s Sydnee Taylor was fouled on the ensuing inbounds pass, but missed the front end of a one-and-one.
The ball bounced into the corner, and Springville’s players bounced onto the court in celebration.
"Fortunately, she missed," Park said of Taylor. "That’s a hard way to lose the game for them, but we’ll take it."
Park scored a game-high 15 points — 11 from the free-throw line, including four in the final two minutes. The Red Devils (13-10) rallied from a four-point deficit in the fourth quarter after Skyline closed the third quarter on a 9-2 run.
Taylor scored the final nine points for the Eagles (18-7), who led by three points with 2:44 to go. But Lydia Austin’s runner in the lane and two Park free throws put Spingville up 40-39. Taylor tied it with 45 seconds left, to set the stage for Park’s game-winning moment.
"This is her fourth state tournament," Springville coach Camie Oakley said of Park. "She has an incredible history and she is a natural leader. No matter what she does, she will be a leader in her life."
Taylor finished with 13 points for Skyline and Hillary Weixler grabbed 11 rebounds. The Eagles failed to win their first state title since 2008.
"It was sadness, excitement, then sadness again, obviously," Skyline coach Lynette Schroeder said of the moments following the loss. "You just feel for the girls because they worked so hard."
It’s perhaps the most unlikely title in Springville’s recent haul. The Red Devils lost seven games in a row in December and January, including five by four points or less. But Springville closed the season with 12 wins in its last 13 games, including four in the state tournament by a total margin of 11 points.
"This week has been kind of a dream as a coach," Oakley said. "We peaked at the right time. … Back in December, people counted us out.
"They came into the state tournament with one goal in mind: to get to this game. … The girls prepared all season for this game."
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