ST ANTHONY – It has been a rough road through the District 6, 2A girls' basketball tournament for the Firth Lady Cougars.
A first round loss to North Fremont sent them to the elimination side of the bracket and they were forced to play game after game, with the chance of ending the season earlier than they wanted. They were able to beat first West Jefferson and then North Fremont, both games going into overtime before the outcome was decided.
Last Thursday night, they had their chance against the top-seeded Ririe Lady Bulldogs for the district title and an automatic berth at the state tournament.
It was a game of runs and the lead changed hands many times before Ririe's Sara Boone was able to hit a pair of free throws with less than two seconds remaining to claim the victory. It was Ririe's fourth consecutive district and Nuclear Conference title.
“It was definitely a back-and-forth battle,” Ririe coach Jake Landon said. “It’s probably a fitting end to the Nuclear Conference tournament.”
The game began as if Ririe was going to take control early and never look back. The Lady Bulldogs built up an eight-point lead at 19-11 before the first quarter buzzer sounded, sending the teams to their respective benches for some adjustments.
As Firth has been prone to do in recent games, they came out for the second quarter like a totally different team and responded to coach Sharla Cook's instructions and the game was on. Before the second quarter had ended, Firth had outscored Ririe by a 16-6 margin and led the contest by a 27-25 margin.
The Lady Bulldogs regained the lead in the third quarter, but the two teams went back and forth, and entering the final stanza Ririe held a two-point lead at 37-35.
That is when the defense of both teams took over with each team having chances taken away by the other with some stout defensive plays. The final quarter was a push, with each team scoring six points, and Ririe getting two free throws at the end to win it.
Ririe will move automatically to the state tournament, where they will face Declo in the Thursday first round game at 8 p.m. Firth will move on to a state play-in game, most likely with Bear Lake on Saturday.
RIRIE 43, FIRTH 41
Firth 11 16 8 6 — 41
Ririe 19 6 12 6 — 43
FIRTH — Cassi Robbins 5, Brooklyn Clayson 1, Hailey Gee 13, Kiley Mecham 9, Megan Jolley 11, Hailey Barker 4.
RIRIE — Breyer Newman 14, Sara Boone 11, Jordan Scott 10, Dallas Sutton 6, Alyssa Foster 2.