Every basketball player probably fantasizes about stepping up to the foul line at the end of a game with a chance to bet the hero.
Westside’s Morgan Thomas lived it.
The senior center hit two foul shots with three seconds left to give No. 7/8 Westside a stunning 37-35 win over defending champion Wyoming East in the Region 3, Section 1 championship game at Clear Fork.
“I was trying not to think about anything and not pay any attention to the crowd yelling,” Thomas said. “I make them all the time in practice.”
WHS became the first AA team to beat the Warriors this year.
East won the the regular season meetings by 30 and 18, but Thomas said the Rengades had a different mind set this time.
“They’re a tough team, and we had to be as tough as they are,” she commented.
“Morgan was a real senior leader and hit those big foul shots,”said WHS coach Jamie Lusk. “I’m very proud of her.”
The Lady Warriors (18-6) held a small lead most of the night but went long stretches of the second half without scoring.
“We wanted to keep it close to the fourth quarter and see what happened,” Lusk observed.
Westside’s Hannah Toler hit a three from the right corner with 3:07 to play to give the Renegades their first lead of the second half at 35-33.
East’s Emily Saunders scored inside to tie it.
WHS held the ball a long time but came up empty.
The Warriors got the ball with :39 to play and held for the last shot.
Jasmine Blankenship’s attempt was off target, and Saunders was called for the foul on the rebound attempt.
The Renegade cheering section stormed the court when Blankenship’s long three attempt at the buzzer missed.
“All six of our girls who played tonight did a great job of doing what we wanted them to do,” Lusk said.
The Lady Warriors had a 12-10 edge after one quarter and went up by as much eight, 23-15, in the second stanza.
It was 23-17 at the half.
The Renegades had a 7-0 run, highlighted by a three from Thomas, to get within 25-24. “I’ve always wanted to make on in a game,” Thomas said.
East had a 31-28 edge going into the final quarter.
A Saunders bucket made it a five-point lead, but the Lady Warriors were scoreless for nearly five minutes as the Renegades rallied.
Toler had 12 p0ints for WHS. Makayla Morgan had 8, and Thomas scored 7.
Saunders and Megan Davis each had 12 for East.
Thomas was named the tournament MVP and was joined on the all tourney team by Morgan and Toler.
Saunders and Blankenship were selected from East.
Westside (18-6) will host River View in a Region 3 co-final on Wednesday, and East will visit No. 1 Bluefield on the same evening.
John Conley can be reached at 304-732-6060 or on Twitter @PIHnews.