FIRTH – Most coaches will tell you that one of the hardest things that a team has to do is to beat another team three times in a single year.
That statement was proven true on Tuesday night when third-seeded Firth faced off with fourth-seed North Fremont in the first round of the 2A District 6 tournament. The Cougars had earned two wins over the Huskies this season.
On Tuesday night, they notched a third.
Firth topped North Fremont in overtime, 37-36, moving on to the district semifinals.
In the extra session, Firth jumped out and scored first, but the Huskies came right back and tied it again before the Cougars would get a long range 3-pointer and added a pair of free throws to that to build a lead of 36-33.
Moments later, it became 37-36 and North Fremont had the ball, but couldn't get off a shot and the final buzzer sounded and the Cougars had held on for the win. They will play second-seed West Jefferson at 7 p.m. Thursday in Terreton.
That winner will play top-seeded Ririe at 7 p.m. Saturday.
The Cougars got off to a quick enough start, although both teams were very patient offensively. The Cougars opened up quickly behind senior point guard Hailey Barker who had eight points in the opening quarter and the Cougars had a six point lead when the buzzer sounded.
The second period was more of the same as the Huskies would finally get some offense going and their defense finally slowed Barker down, and the Cougars looked desperately to find some offense.
By the time the buzzer sounded to send the teams to the locker rooms for halftime, the Huskies had closed the game to just a three point margin at 17-14 in favor of the Cougars, but it was anyone's game when the teams came back for the second half of play.
North Fremont had found something and it was a bit of a defensive scheme that overplayed Barker and forced a few turnovers and shots from players who were out of position. That allowed for a turn of events in the game and suddenly, the Huskies had taken the lead by quarter's end at 24-22 and things were wide open on the floor.
The Huskies continued to push things and at the same time, exercised some patience on the offensive end. Defensively, they overplayed Barker some more and she was having trouble finding the basket and nobody was stepping up to relieve the pressure on the backcourt.
The fourth quarter belonged to North Fremont, which continued to work patiently and with some missed shots coming from the hands of the Cougars, the Huskies began to build a five-point lead.
That is when the Huskies fouled Barker and sent her to the free-throw line, where she calmly sank a pair, when only a minute or two earlier, she had missed four straight. That brought the Cougars to within three points and they were able to force a turnover with less than 30 seconds remaining in regulation.
That is when the ball ended up in Firth freshman Daytona Folkman's hands. She very calmly went to the left and then to the right and found herself wide open and looking down the barrel of a 3-point basket and let fly. The high-arcing shot went down to the bottom of the net. That tied things at 31 apiece, forcing overtime.
North Fremont will now host Salmon at 7 p.m. Thursday in the loser's bracket.
FIRTH 37, NORTH FREMONT 36
North Fremont 4 10 10 7 5 — 36
Firth 10 7 5 9 6 — 37
NORTH FREMONT — Brylie Greener 5, Shelby Reynolds 13, Mariya Hoffner 7, Graycee Litton 5, Adrianne Nedrow 5, Blanca Mazo 1.
FIRTH — Cassi Robbins 2, Brooklyn Clayson 2, Kiley Mecham 8, Megan Jolley 3, Hailey Barker 19, Daytona Folkman 3.