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Pioneer girls lose heartbreaker

by: David Ball, Sandy's Michaela Hillis drives away from a Barlow defender.

The Sandy girls basketball team stalled out in the second half and suffered a heartbreaking 33-30 loss to Barlow on Friday night.

After trading the lead a few times early in the fourth period, the teams were deadlocked at 26-26 with five minutes to play. The Pioneers had several chances to gain the advantage, but a series of missed foul shots kept them from moving in front.

Barlow's Brooke Beattie made the most of her chance at the foul line, swishing a shot to put the Bruins ahead to stay with 1:46 remaining.

The Pioneers had chances to answer, but back-to-back turnovers left them playing from behind.

Barlow increased the pressure when Jordin Ketelsen faked one direction and broke free to the basket on an inbounds play, beating her Sandy defender for a layin and a 32-29 lead with 41 seconds left.

'The defense got confused and I was able to get loose,' Ketelson said. 'I just knew I had to power up and score.'

But Ketelsen wasn't finished.

The Pioneers raced downcourt hoping for a quick answer, but Ketelsen blocked a shot under the hoop to erase Sandy's last chance to tie the game.

'I didn't want to foul her, so I put my hands straight up and shoved her back down,' Ketelson said.

Barlow put the game out of reach when Beattie hit another free throw with 30 seconds left.

The Bruins improved to 2-0 in league, while Sandy fell to 0-2.

Sandy missed its first eight shots of the game and was held scoreless through the first five minutes before Brenna Hoffman ended the dryspell with a 16-foot jumper that rattled the rim and dropped through.

Sandy put on a late spurt to take a two-point lead at the end of the first period and quickly broke out to a 17-10 lead when Michaela Hillis and Sarah Sturges swished back-to-back 3-pointers in the second period. The Pioneers went into halftime with their biggest lead at 21-12.

Barlow switched to man-to-man defense in the second half and gradually cut into the margin by holding Sandy scoreless for the first seven minutes of the third quarter.

'That gave us a more aggressive attitude,' Bruins' coach Ryan Alexander said. 'We were able to stay on their shooters and contain them.'

(Alexander was making his first return visit to Sandy since leaving the school in the offseason.)

Barlow moved in front when Ali Summerfield grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on the putback late in the third period. But Sandy's Sturges responded with a 3-pointer on the next possession to give the Pioneers their final lead 24-22 going into the final period.

The Pioneers connected for just three baskets after the break.