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Green Canyon's Kennedy Eskelson, right, drives to the basket as Juan Diego's Mahinetea Tavanae and Kira Rhay defend Thursday in Ogden in a 4A state quarterfinal game.

Green Canyon's Shante Falslev (22) takes a shot as Juan Diego's Mahinetea Tavanae defends Thursday in Ogden at the 4A state playoffs.

Green Canyon's Kennedy Eskelson, right, drives to the basket as Juan Diego's Mahinetea Tavanae and Kira Rhay defend Thursday in Ogden in a 4A state quarterfinal game.

So it was in the Green Canyon girls' 61-54 overtime win over Juan Diego in the 4A state quarterfinals. The Wolves made only one basket the entire extra four minutes, but that one shot dictated the entire period.

"We needed to start that run," GC head coach Alexis Bird said. "I think us being on the run first kind of defeated Juan Diego a little bit mentally and then we just lock down on defense."

Shante' Falslev was responsible for said shot — a contested scoop that found its way to the bottom of the net — but while it was technically the game-winner, the true winning touch came on the defensive end. As Bird said, her team locked down on defense. The Soaring Eagle (18-4) scored zero points in overtime, missing all seven of their shots and committing four turnovers.

That the Wolves (17-5) made it to overtime was a minor miracle. The two sides traded leads and ties for essentially the entire second half with there being nine lead changes and four ties in the last 12 minutes of game time. When the final minute came around, Green Canyon was on the wrong side of one of those lead changes and was forced to foul. The Wolves were in that position because, for the last portion of the game, the defense wasn't quite as stellar. Juan Diego made three straight trips to the charity stripe in the final -- courtesy of the Wolves.

"I felt that they were softer fouls, but it was consistent, I felt the refs were great," Bird said. "The thing is, we set ourselves up for those fouls."

Green Canyon's Shante Falslev (22) takes a shot as Juan Diego's Mahinetea Tavanae defends Thursday in Ogden at the 4A state playoffs.

With the score at 53-52 and 42 seconds left in regulation Juan Diego's Laulea Tavake went to the line for the one-and-one. She made the first but bricked the second, leaving a wide-enough window for the Wolves.

Though Bird still had a timeout in her back pocket, she didn't use it. Instead, she deferred to her players.

Kennedy Eskelson was the one who shouldered the enormous responsibility of making a game-saving play. But as Bird stated "this pressure's not new to her."

With 25.2 seconds on the clock. Eskelson made a veritable circus shot, a layup that, at first, looked like it would bounce off the underside of the rim, but with a little English, spun the ball into the cup for the tying 2-pointer.

With that bucket, the rest was history as they say. Green Canyon would not be stopped on its determined march to the state finals.

"They didn't want to be done. They want two more (games)." Bird said. "They locked down on defense, they boxed out, they deserve that win."

Eskelson's game-tying bucket was just two of her game-high 18 points, which came alongside her 10 rebounds and five assists.

"Kennedy is just a big part of our team, has been since we've opened," Bird said. "Eighteen points is great but I also think her defense was incredible and that just spearheads our offense."

Jordyn Thompson had 13 points, 10 of those coming in first half as she scored the first eight points of the game for Green Canyon. Allee McKenna led her team in rebounds with 14, seven of those on the offensive end. Allee also had seven points including a free throw in overtime that increased Green Canyon's lead. Kinley Falslev rounded out double-digit scorers with 11 points to go with five rebounds, three assists and two steals.

The Wolves await the winner of the Cedar vs. Logan game in one semifinal. The winner of that game and Green Canyon will play at 2:30 p.m. in Ogden on Friday.

   Kinley Falslev 3 2-2 11, Allee McKenna 2 2-4 7, Jordyn Thompson 5 0-0 13, Kennedy Eskelson 6 5-6 18, Shante’ Falslev 2 3-6 7, McKenna Crane 1 3-6 5. Totals 19 15-24 61.

Frog

    Kiely Rasmussen 6 2-2 17, Kamry Pam 4 2-3 12, Laulea Tavake 6 5-7 17, Mahinetea Tavanae 0 1-2 1, Sophia Lopez 1 0-0 2, Kira Rhay 1 3-3 5, Maya Sherrell 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 13-17 54.

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