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PREP WATCH: Trojans come back late to survive scare vs. Sandy

Veronica Rivers' 3-pointer puts Wilson in front for good


by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - Wilson guard Veronica Rivers sets herself for a free throw in the first half of Tuesday's 37-34 play-in win over Sandy. This wasn’t supposed to happen. The clock had just slipped under five minutes and Wilson found itself trailing Sandy by seven points — a visiting Pioneers team that was the last qualifier to make Tuesday’s girls basketball play-in round.

Something needed to change, and it needed to change in a hurry.

Enter Trojans senior Veronica Rivers.

Sandy was pushing to add to its margin with a fastbreak only to have Rivers fly down the court, catch up to the play and pick off a pass with a lunging effort under the basket. She never slowed down, dribbling the other way, and pulled up for a 12-foot jumper — a four-point swing that saved the Trojans season.

“We were sitting in a timeout, and I just told myself that I wanted this more,” Rivers said. “My teammates all did the same thing, and we went out and got it.”

Wilson then moved in front 33-32 when Rivers ripped the net with a 3-pointer from the left side with 1:30 to play.

“I was open, and it was just good basketball I.Q. to take the shot,” Rivers said. “I was just hoping I had the right technique to make the shot. When it went through it felt amazing.”

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - Wilson guard Jamie Kresl drives to the basket to finish a fastbreak.

After a Sandy miss at the other end, it was the Pioneers who went into desperation mode, needing to foul to get the ball back. They fouled the wrong person. Rivers was hacked across the arms and walked to the free-throw line with 56 seconds remaining.

Her routine was simple: one dribble and let the foul shot fly. Both attempts swished through, putting the Trojans up by three.

Sandy opted for a long-ball attempt on its next possession, but with Wilson guarding the arc it took precious time to find an open shot. Almost 40 seconds ticked away before the Pioneers lofted a deep try from a couple steps behind the line. The shot never had a chance.

Wilson grabbed the rebound, and Alexa Hinkley converted both foul shots at the other end to put the game out of reach.

The Trojans (19-5) advance to the Class 5A state bracket with the win and likely will travel to Summit (17-7) for a first-round matchup Friday.

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - Wilson center Nikki Hogan makes a move to the rim past Sandy's Mattie Burns during Tuesday's play-in victory.

Wilson broke out to a 9-5 lead in the early stages of play, beating Sandy’s zone defense when Rivers knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the arc.

The Trojans maintained a slim lead into the third quarter highlighted with Rivers swiping an inbounds pass in the backcourt and going straight for the hoop. She pulled up just short and passed across the lane to teammate Jamie Kresl for an easy finish.

View a photo gallery from Tuesday’s qualifier game at …

http://daveball.exposuremanager.com/g/march4_sandy-wilson_girls_hoops