Riverton • Copper Hills certainly didn’t deserve an exceptional grade Tuesday night, but the Grizzlies did just enough to pass their first big test in Region 3 as they eked out a 42-38 win over host Riverton.
“We just kept grinding this one out,” Copper Hills coach Ben Morely said. “I’m really proud of the way we were able to come out and play on the road in a big game against a storied program. Riverton have been the blue bloods of girls’ basketball for over a decade, and there’s no easy games here.”
Copper Hills’ leading scorer Breaunna Gillen reached her average total of 16 points in Tuesday’s win, but it was her pass to teammate Kaci Bobo that really did Riverton in. Bobo spotted up from the corner and knocked down her only field goal of the night.
“Kaci’s best shot is the corner,” Gillen said. “I knew she had it, no doubt in my mind.”
Bobo’s corner 3 capped a 5-0 run late in the fourth quarter to give the Grizzlies a 40-36 lead that they never relinquished.
“I didn’t think about it at all,” Bobo said. “I was just running through and trying to create for my teammates, but they got me open instead. It was a great feeling to see that go down. We gave a great effort, we played as a team and we never gave up.”
Copper Hills could have given up late in the third quarter after giving up an 11-2 run and the lead as Riverton jumped back on top 29-26. But the Grizzlies continued to grind out possessions as Gillen was able to stop the bleeding with a much-needed and-one basket to tie the game up at 29-29. The junior then got into a heated scoring duel with Riverton senior Morgan Kane in the fourth quarter as the two traded baskets until Bobo’s dagger 3-pointer.
“Our energy on defense led to offense, and team movement got me open,” Gillen said. “[Riverton] pressured us hard, and we knew we just had to move and cut and pass for each other to get open. My teammates put me in some great spots to score.”
Despite her dominant offensive performance late in the game, Gillen was unable to ice the game in the closing seconds. She missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 21.6 seconds remaining. The Grizzlies missed two more free throws before Lenisi Fineanganofo was able to sink her second attempt to finish off the Silverwolves.
“They’re just too good to ever feel safe,” Morely said. “Whether it’s a one-point win or a 20-point win, I’m just happy we got it tonight.”
COPPER HILLS 42, RIVERTON 38
• Copper Hills improves to 2-0 in Region 3 behind Breaunna Gillen’s 16-point, four-rebound performance.
• Copper Hills runs its winning streak to 12 games.
• Senior Morgan Kane’s double-double — 17 points and 11 rebounds — leads Riverton.