If you attended Friday night’s game to watch the four-overtime thriller Mountain Ridge and Sandra Day O’Connor put on, chances are you’ve lost your voice and your knees are sore from stomping on the bleachers.
The Eagles managed to outlast the Mountain Lions after overcoming a halftime deficit of 10 points, winning by a final score of 83-78.
“Our team just works really well together. That's our motto, always stick together and always give it our all,” Eagle’s guard Leyah Gawargis said. “We just wanted it more.”
A game that looked to be in the hands of the home team after the first half, ended up being decided by turnovers, offensive rebounds, and lots of three-point shooting.
Mountain Ridge’s junior Janae Floyd led the game in scoring with 31 points and four 3-pointers.
The Eagles shot just 33% from the field in the first half, but managed to score off forced turnovers that marched them to an overtime victory with the help of seniors Gewargis, Lana Croker, Tia Henry and sophomore Chloe Beckman.
“I told them at halftime you either sit there and get punked or you do the punking and they came out ready to go,” Sandra Day O’Connor head coach Danny Soliman said.
In a game that went back-and-forth, with shots being made at the buzzer to extend overtime play, self-inflicted wounds came back to haunt the Mountain Lions.
“We probably played the most amazing game and the worst game at the same time,” Mountain Ridge head coach Jaime Carreon said.
“All of a sudden we were turning the ball over, missing free throws. We had the opportunities. We had the chance to put them away,” Carreon noted. “With all of that being said we still hit the big shots and still played good defense.”
While the rivalry of Sandra Day O’Connor and Mountain Ridge seemed very well alive, both coaches walked away stunned at the performances that kept fan of both rivals on their feet for the majority of it.
“A game in general doesn’t get much better than that,” Carreon beamed. “A rivalry game doesn’t get much better than that.”
Beckman hit the game winning shot to propel the Eagles over the Mountain Lions 80-78 and the Eagles used the free throws of Gewargis and Henry to seal the deal with less than six seconds left on the clock.
Gerwagis and Croker both poured in 21 points for O'Connor.
“My girls all year have been tough as nails,” Soliman bragged. “Every time they get down,they battle. They never point the finger. They stay together and they play hard.”
Mountain Ridge (17-2) will host Pinnacle in Glendale at 7 p.m. Monday, looking to avenge its other loss this season.
Sandra Day O’Connor get a longer break before traveling to Chandler for their matchup against Hamilton at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Ashley Stevens is a master's student in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University
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