Orem • Hurricane has complete confidence in its ability at the free-throw line. The Tigers spend a lot of time at the line during practice, with each player attempting 50 foul shots on Mondays and 20 every day the rest of the week.
It saved the Tigers’ season in Friday’s Class 4A girls’ basketball state semifinal.
Hurricane looked in good shape up three points in the closing seconds, but Lehi’s Apelila Galeai hit a deep 3-pointer to even the score. That’s where the free-throw practice paid off.
Hurricane tried driving to the basket, and Lehi was whistled for a foul with 2.2 seconds left. Tie ballgame. On the line? The daughter of Hurricane coach Franci Homer.
“I only have to make one foul shot,” Hailey Homer thought to herself.
She stepped to the line and fired her first attempt, which rattled off to the right.
There was one more shot coming.
She visualized the motion during the timeout. It was going in for sure. She had no doubt.
“I was just envisioning myself making it,” she said. “I was like I missed the first one. I only have to make one.”
She came out of the timeout and made it a reality. And when Maddison Warren’s half-court prayer missed for Lehi, the Tigers celebrated the 43-42 come-from-behind win. They were heading to the state championship game.
It took a comeback to set up the final sequence. Madi Hirshci led it by scoring four of her 15 points and coming up with a key steal in the final minute of the game.
“Madi was outstanding, coming up with several steals, and she completely put us on her back and got us back in the game,” coach Homer said.
After only scoring 22 points in the first three quarters, Hurricane scored 21 in the final period, just enough to pull out the victory.
“I love these girls so much,” coach Homer said. “Most of them have been with me for four years now, and I couldn’t have asked for a better performance from them. This has been such an incredible state tournament because you never know what you’re going to get.”
Sara Christopherson contributed 10 points and five rebounds for the Pioneers.