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4A girls’ basketball: ‘I just saw the shot and took it’: Judge Memorial tops East on buzzer-beater

First Published      Last Updated Feb 23 2017 11:28 pm


4A girls’ basketball » Haley Auer’s lone basket wins the game.

Taylorsville • Even casual, non-partisan observers at the Class 4A quarterfinal between Judge Memorial and East High may have noticed the reluctance of Judge's Haley Auer to take open shots on this snowy February afternoon.

Although Auer played the entire game, most of her concentration was on passing the ball and playing defense.

That was the first 31 minutes, 54 seconds.

It was all Auer for the last 6 seconds.

The 5-foot-4 senior guard got the inbounds pass in the backcourt, dribbled up the floor and let a 5-foot shot fly as she went into the lane with a second left.

When the ball went through the net to give the Bulldogs a 45-43 victory, a rush of students crowded the floor to celebrate the Bulldogs' semifinal berth.

"This might be the last time for me playing basketball, ever," Auer said about the thoughts running through her mind as she ran down the court for the winning shot.

"I was looking for my bigs down low because I dish off to them a lot and they usually make the layups," she said. "Their girls stayed on our bigs. So I just saw the shot and took it."

Auer had taken three other attempts during the game but the last one was her lone make in the game.

"Last weekend, I had a soccer tournament and didn't touch a ball for about five days," Auer said. "So my touch was kind of off."

Judge Memorial (18-4), which will play Box Elder on Friday, opened the season with a 10-point win over East (15-10).

And that was the Bulldogs' margin at the end of the first period and at halftime before things started to change for the Leopards in the second half.

While Judge relied on the inside of play of Vanessa Austin (23 points) and the outside shooting of Emily Garcia (12 points), East started clicking around the duo of juniors Liana Kaitu'u and Sisilia Tatiauli.

Tatiauli frequently found Kaitu'u for outlet passes and layups in the third and fourth quarters, and East roared back to tie at 41-41 after a 12-3 run. Kaitu'u and Tatiauli split the Leopards' points during that streak with Tatiauli, East's center, stepping out for a 3-pointer with 1:16 left to deadlock the score.

Kaitu'u finished with 20 points while Tatiauli had 18.

Austin scored her last bucket with 14 seconds left to give Judge a 43-41 advantage, but Kaitu'u roared to the other end for a layup to tie eight seconds later to set up Auer's heroics.

"She just made a great shot. We didn't think she was going to be the one to take it," East coach Olosaa Solovi said. "It just kind of caught us off guard, but much props to her."




 

AT A GLANCE

Judge Memorial 45, East 43

Judge Memorial advances to the semifinal round for the first time since being part of the Class 3A tournament in 2012.

» Vanessa Austin hits nine of her 12 shots to finish with 23 points while fellow Judge post Mayree Ellis hauls in 14 rebounds.

» East gets 20 points from Liana Kaitu’u and 18 more from fellow junior Sisilia Taliauli.


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