Deer Valley led by one point with five seconds remaining in regulation time when a free throw by Wolverine Raven Fox was negated by a lane violation. That gave the Patriots a chance to win with a simple basket. But the Wolverines forced Heritage star Khyia Slone to miss the game-winning shot.
What made this game more unusual than most was the interruption that took place toward the end of the first half. Patriot Jenny Cyganowski had just made a layup, cutting the Wolverine lead to 32-30, when the lights in the arena went out, and stayed out for 45 minutes.
Eventually Deer Valley Principal Clarence Isadore made an announcement that if the power did not come on before 8:30, the coaches had agreed to resume the game at a later date. A few minutes before 8:30 Isadore announced that the game was postponed. But less than a minute after the announcement, the lights came back on and the game continued.
The temporary darkness in the ceiling didn’t slow the momentum of the back-and-forth battle down on the court. Deer Valley followed a terrific 21-10 first quarter with a lackluster 11-point second quarter. Conversely, Heritage followed its lackluster first quarter with a 25-point second quarter, highlighted by a 19-2 run that gave the Patriots a 35-32 halftime lead.
Both teams took a breather for much of the third quarter, which saw the Wolverines eventually heat up and take a 46-44 lead into the final quarter. Although the game’s outcome wasn’t decided until the final seconds, Deer Valley never trailed in the fourth quarter.
“We showed a lot of heart,” said Wolverine Coach Lindsey Wisely. “There was a lot of adversity in that game: the lights went out, we had three starters in foul trouble, and I thought that we really came together. This was a huge moment in Deer Valley basketball history just in terms of coming together. Everybody chipped in. It was a big game tonight. Heritage has a great team over there; we always have these battles. I was just really proud of the heart that my team showed.”
Asked about areas in need of improvement, she said, “It’s got to be defense. We are known for our defense here at Deer Valley. We just can’t give up that many points. Last game we gave up 64; this time it was almost 60. We gave up too many double-digit quarters, that second quarter was brutal. Defensively, we have got to buckle down a little more.”
While Heritage Coach Darin Price wasn’t happy with the final score, he was pleased with his team’s effort. “These girls fought hard, especially under the circumstances tonight of a 45-minute delay,” he said. “We had great momentum going, and all of a sudden it just got snapped. We still played hard; we were right there. It was going back and forth for the whole second half. In the end, they executed a little better than we did, but we played hard.
“We need to keep doing the same stuff, keep doing what we’re doing, keep attacking. If we would have made a couple of open layups that we missed or a couple of free throws, we might win the game. Overall, our free throws tonight were a lot better than we have been. Give it to Deer Valley. They’re a good team. They didn’t give up and they fought hard. In this league we have to go head-to-head one more time, so we’ll see who can take that one.”
Fox led all scorers with 19 points, and her teammate Samantha Kixmiller was right behind her with 15. The leading scorers for Heritage were Slone and Kiana Caban, each of whom finished with 17 points.
On Saturday the Wolverines lost to St. Mary’s 61-42.
Friday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m. Deer Valley travels to Pittsburg while Heritage hosts crosstown rival Liberty in what could be one of the more exciting games of the season.