Slow start leads to quick end at Semi-Finals


Thomas Clawson

Highland Basketball player, Sophia Legate, gains possession of the ball during Semi-Finals against Lehi.

Zoe Arntsen, Highland Staff Writer

The Highland girls basketball team did the one thing it could not afford to do against No. 1-seeded Lehi on Wednesday afternoon – start slow. Doomed by a first quarter without a made bucket – the only points were on three free throws by Sosefina Langi – and a consistently tough Lehi defense, the Rams fell 49-38 in the semifinals of the state tournament.

Lehi continued to steal the ball and force turnovers throughout the game, using these opportunities to make quick shots on its end, eventually building a 13-point lead in the second quarter. Highland looked like it might seize the momentum at the halftime buzzer with Sophia Legate hit a half-court buzzer beater to bring Highland within 10 and 27-17.

This got the Highland crowd going, hoping that a comeback was possible. Feeding off the crowd’s energy, Highland made several runs in the second half, but Lehi always had an answer. The closest the game got was in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Trailing by 13, Highland went on an 8-0 run, sparked by a suddenly swarming defense. After a steal and a layup by Langi, Highland found itself down five with 2:30 remaining.

But that was as close as it got. Highland missed an open three-pointer that would have made it a two-point game, a theme as the Rams struggled hitting key shots when they were needed the most. From there, Lehi made its free throws to close out the game.

It was an unusual game as Highland missed a number of layups, which allowed Lehi to get away with being the smaller team. But it is an opportunity for this young team to learn.

This year’s team is made up of mostly underclassmen, making great opportunities for the team to grow and progress together. Most of the players will be back.

“Because we’re a younger team we really look up to our juniors and seniors who set a great example for us,” Tukuafu, a sophomore, said. “They’re basically our older sisters and with this, we learn how to work with each other and bond both on and off the court.”

This off-season the team will reflect and build off of their wins and setbacks. Highland will be one of the favorites going into next season.

Langi, a sophomore, finished with 15 points to lead the Rams.