Riverton center Morgan Kane raised her arm high and blocked a shot that could have reduced the lead to five points, could have reasserted some doubts and could have given 14 straight game-winners Copper Hills a glimmer of hope.
But she wasn’t finished there — gathering the ball she’d jarred loose, tiptoeing along the sideline and finding her teammate with a pinpoint pass for the score.
“We were up by a little bit, we were all getting a little anxious. That block got everyone excited,” Kane said. “That was a crucial turning point.”
That basket made it a nine-point margin and with a dominant Kane, Riverton secured a 60-50 win over a rolling Region 3 rival and a statement win as the season winds down to the state tournament.
Riverton started sluggish and looked frazzled by Copper Hills’ press defense, falling behind 6-0.
But after a quick timeout from Riverton coach Ron Ence, the Silverwolves settled down and found a groove in orbit around the team’s talented center — whom Ence praised for her leadership in making correct passes to involve her teammates.
“Some people don’t even know that she’s probably the best all-around post player in the state,” he said.
After halftime, Riverton led by nine, 32-23, and Kane went to work in the low post and from the foul line, scoring 10 of her 23 points in the third quarter alone.
“We had to go to our strengths, which is driving, kicking out and rebounding,” Kane said. “He (Ence) just said ‘keep your composure and we’ve worked on this. You know how to do this.’”
Copper Hills made a push behind junior guard Breaunna Gillen, who finished with 19 points, and sophomore guard Eleyana Tafisi, who had 13 points, reducing the deficit to seven with just under three minutes to go. But Kane’s block and sophomore guard Hailey Burt’s free throws iced the victory.
As the clock wound down, Kane celebrated with her coach and teammates, yelling “let’s go” as she had throughout the win — a victory she said can’t be understated.
“It gives us a ‘yes we can,’” Kane said. “I mean, let’s go.”
• Riverton senior Morgan Kane scores 23 points in win over Copper Hills
• Copper Hills’ loss snaps a 14-game unbeaten streak coming in to Thursday night.
• After an early 6-0 deficit, Riverton beats nerves and press defense to win the game.