For three quarters last week against Sedona Red Rock, the Williams High School girls basketball team appeared it could beat any 2A team in the state.
The defense was causing turnovers, the layups were going in the hoop, the offense was in sync.
But in the final eight minutes, the team began to fail on various scoring opportunities. Sedona saw the opening, took advantage of it and rallied from a double-digit deficit to steal a 53-50 win.
“We missed seven layups in the fourth quarter,” Williams coach Lorenzo Rodriguez said. “If we had played the last few minutes of the fourth quarter like the previous three quarters, we would have won. We got too excited and away from our game.”
By the end of the third quarter, Williams had equaled its biggest lead of the day with a 13-point advantage. From that point on, however, the Lady Vikes would score only one basket the rest of the game.
Sedona went on an 18-0 run over a six-minute span of the fourth quarter. Melissa Pettit fouled out with 2:07 left in the game.
During that stretch, Williams missed out on a couple of baskets because of fouls. On one of those, Beth Harris made a move and hit a basket off the glass in what appeared to be a clean attempt. It would have been a key basket for Williams but a foul disallowed it.
With 1:53 remaining, the girls broke the scoring drought with a pair of free throws by Harris.
After stopping the Scorpions on offense, Williams came down and Lyssa Mulvihill popped a three-pointer to tie the game, 50-50, with 1:25 left in the game.
Sedona ran time off the clock and scored with 20 seconds left to take a two-point lead. Williams came downcourt and had a layup opportunity with 10 seconds left, but the shot was missed. Sedona rebounded and was fouled with seven seconds left.
The Scorpions made one of the two free throws for a three-point lead. Williams had one final shot but didn’t score and the game was in the win column for Sedona.
With the victory, the Scorpions gained the inside track for hosting the Canyon Region Tournament this weekend. The Scorpions still had tough games remaining before clinching that spot.
In the early going, the two teams traded baskets for most of the first quarter. Pettit scored all six of her points for the game in the first quarter, including a layup with 1:55 left after Sylvia Aguilar had caused a turnover.
That Pettit hoop put Williams up 11-4. By the end of the first, the girls held a 13-8 advantage.
There were plenty of fouls called in the game. In the first quarter alone, the two teams went to the line 19 times and Ashley Rocha found herself on the bench with 2:27 left in the first after picking up her third foul.
In the second quarter, the game remained close. The fouls continued with the two teams attempting 29 more free throws for 48 foul shot attempts by halftime.
Williams maintained its lead during the entire second quarter. Key plays in the quarter were a three-point play by Harris at the 3:46 mark and a Dee Dee Fogg basket 37 seconds before the half.
Foul trouble took its toll in the third quarter for WHS. Amy Christman, who had played well inside, got her third foul eight seconds into the half and Pettit picked up her fourth a second later.
Still, Williams built the double-digit lead. Mulvihill hit two of her three-pointers, Christman scored two baskets in a three-minute span and Aguilar scored after a bullet pass from Christman.
The momentum was lost in the fourth quarter, however, and Sedona capitalized.
On the stat sheet, the Lady Vikings made less than half of their free-throw attempts, which ended up being a factor in the close game. Williams hit 49 percent of those attempts.
Individually, Mulvihill scored 16 points, including a trio of three-pointers, all in the second half. Harris finished with 13 points.
The following night, Williams took a 49-31 win over Mayer. The girls had somewhat of a slow start but poured it on in the second and third quarters and built a big lead.
Pettit hit double figures in scoring with 15 points.
Williams (6-3, 15-10) played Tuesday at Orme in the regular-season finale. That game was played after deadline.
The Lady Vikings will participate in the Canyon Region Tournament Friday and Saturday. As of presstime, the site had not been determined. Check with the school for site and game time.