Williams girls fall 1 point short of 1st in conference

Steffen Eikenberry battles inside for a basket against Mayer last week.

But amazingly, St. Johns was able to avoid the Vikes and run the clock out to take sole possession of first place in the Canyon Region by one point.

“We just made a few mistakes early and missed some layups,” said WHS coach Lorenzo Rodriguez. “But I feel good about it. If the girls can play with St. Johns, they can play with anybody.”

With the second-place finish in the Canyon Region side of the conference, the Lady Vikings will host a first-round regional game today at 6 p.m.

Williams will take on Red Mesa, the No. 3 team out of the Four Corners Region.

The regular-season finale on Saturday was a thriller all the way. St. Johns led 15-14 at the end of the first quarter.

Williams relied on points from Lyssa Mulvihill and Ashley Rocha in the first quarter. The pair scored 11 of the team’s 14 points in the first eight minutes — Rocha with six and Mulvihill with five.

In the second, Williams took an 18-17 lead on a pair of Mulvihill free throws. The senior was 14-of-20 from the foul line for the night in a game filled with referee whistles.

But St. Johns came back to regain the lead, 19-18, on a questionable no-call for traveling. Williams shook that off and went on a 9-3 run to end the half.

Michelle Barnes capped the run with a three-point goal with seven seconds before the halftime buzzer.

In the third quarter, Williams maintained a six-point lead most of the way. St. Johns pulled to within 39-38 with 3:40 left in the third but Williams responded with a Mulvihill three-pointer.

Then the Redskins tied the game, 44-44, at the 1:47 mark, but Williams again responded with the bomb. Mulvihill and Rocha hit back-to-back three-pointers to put the Vikes back up by six. St. Johns scored another basket and trailed by four heading into the fourth.

The game exchanged leads five times in the fourth quarter. After St. Johns had taken a 55-51 lead with 4:51 left, Williams went on a 5-0 run to regain the lead.

All five points came at the free-throw line, four by Mulvihill.

The two teams traded turns at the foul line over the next few minutes. With 1:26 left, the Vikings held a 58-57 lead.

St. Johns took a 59-58 lead on a basket off an in-bounds pass. Sylvia Aguilar tied the game with a free throw with 1:04 remaining.

After St. Johns took a 61-59 lead with 39 seconds left, Rodriguez called timeout.

“We were still in the ballgame, we just had to convert and get a three,” he said. “If we didn’t get a three, then we needed a two and then foul right away.”

Williams missed an open shot and was forced to foul. St. Johns made 1-of-2 for a 62-59 lead. Stevens then scored with seven seconds left and the Vikings were unable to foul in the final moments.

Mulvihill finished with 27 points while Rocha scored 18. Mulvihill had a trio of three-point goals. Rocha and Barnes also had three-pointers.

Earlier in the week, Mulvihill went wild and scored 39 points in a 71-48 rout over Orme. Playing with her classic aggressive style, Mulvihill came up with steals and scored a lot of points underneath.

Williams led just 30-27 at halftime before unleashing a second-half barrage.

Mulvihill scored 15 points in the third quarter and 12 more in the fourth to lead the charge.

Playing on Senior Night Saturday, Mulvihill was announced as breaking the school’s scoring record with 1,266 points. The record could not be officially confirmed, but Mulvihill has scored more than any other player over the past decade.

Williams finishes the regular season with a 6-2 record in the region, 18-5 overall. The Lady Vikings’ game tonight against Red Mesa starts at 6 p.m.

With a victory, the Lady Vikings would qualify for the Class 2A state playoffs. A loss would end Williams’ season.

The regional tournament continues Friday and Saturday at a site to be determined.

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