Jenny Stevens met the inbounds pass on the low block, faked right and spun left, kissing her shot off the glass for a one-point advantage with 16 seconds left.
After making one last defensive stand on the other end and enduring a final timeout, the Eagle High girls basketball team was finally free to celebrate its 69-68 overtime win against Hillcrest in the first round of the 5A state tournament Thursday at the Ford Idaho Center.
Well, maybe it was more like a giant sigh of relief.
Eagle (21-4) won an opening-round game for the first time since the 1997-98 season and moves into a 6:15 p.m. semifinal Friday against defending champion Mountain View, a team the Mustangs lost to twice during the regular season.
“Last time we played them, we played well for a half,” Eagle coach Cody Pickett said. “We were ahead at halftime and weren’t able to finish in the second half. We’ve learned from it.”
Against Hillcrest (22-2), the Mustangs proved they could finish with the game on the line.
Junior guard Cassidy Tiegs made two free throws with 36.5 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at 61-61 and force overtime. Tiegs finished with a team-best 24 points, going 11-for-12 from the free-throw line and scoring four of Eagle’s eight points in overtime.
The Mustangs made 23-of-27 free-throw attempts to survive a game that featured 17 lead changes and six ties.
“We definitely don’t always shoot that well (at the free-throw line). I won’t even attempt to lie to you,” Pickett said. “... There were multiple times we were down two, needing to hit two in a row and we got them. That was huge for us. We shoot them a lot in practice, and our girls just stepped up and made big shots for us.”
Stevens — one of just two seniors on the Mustangs’ roster — had four points in overtime for eight total points with four rebounds and three blocked shots.
“I honestly haven’t felt anything like this before,” Stevens said. “It’s a great feeling inside. It just makes us all feel really good. We’re all super happy about it.”
BOISE 50, HIGHLAND 37
Between 6-foot-2 Issy Hadden and 6-0 Mandy Simpson, there may not be a better team in the paint than the Braves.
After taking a one-point lead into the break, Highland had no answer for Boise’s tough inside game in the second half as the Braves outrebounded the Rams 42-24.
Hadden (21 points, 10 rebounds) and Simpson (19 points, 12 rebounds) each notched double-doubles, and senior guard Hanna Orton came up with 12 rebounds of her own to put Boise (18-6) in the semifinals for the second year in a row.
“Getting those rebounds starts our play,” said Simpson, who has 15 double-doubles this season. “Working and thinking about getting those rebounds instead of trying to get those shots is something that we really work on.”
Boise now takes on conference foe Centennial for the second time this season in the 8 p.m. semifinal at the Idaho Center. The Patriots won their lone regular-season meeting 58-40 on Jan. 9.
“We only got to play Centennial one time, and that was not our best effort,” Boise coach Kim Brydges said. “We are very eager to get another crack at them.”
Against Highland, Boise opened the third quarter with 10-0 run, turning a one-point deficit into a 34-25 lead. The advantage only expanded from there as Highland shot 26.8 percent from the field over the final two quarters.
CENTENNIAL 41, LAKE CITY 32
Struggling to shake an off shooting night, the Patriots fell back on their classification-leading defense.
Centennial held northern champion Lake City to a season-low 32 points to secure its first semifinal appearance since 2012.
“That’s what we want to ride on is our defense,” said Centennial senior forward Dominique Williams, who finished with seven points and 12 rebounds. “If our shots aren’t falling, that’s what we’ve got to go back to.”
Entering the state tournament, Centennial (22-3) was limiting opponents to an average of 33.2 points per game.
“I liked their commitment to defense,” Centennial coach Cassie Bro said. “When you struggle a little bit offensively, then you start to get quiet and pull away from each other, but we stayed collectively together. They were talking. Their energy on defense was just awesome.
“So that’s what I was most proud of, because things weren’t flowing on the offensive end, but they stuck to defense.”
Sophomore guard Ami Ti’a scored a game-high 10 points for Centennial, which also got nine points from junior Tori Williams and eight from junior Ayana Amaechi.
MOUNTAIN VIEW 62, BORAH 54
Despite beating Borah by 27 points in their only regular-season meeting, Mountain View wasn’t expecting their first-round rematch to be an easy go.
After trailing by as many as 16 points in the second quarter, Borah matched Mountain View point-for-point in the second half, denying the defending champion Mavericks an opportunity to rest their starters ahead of Friday’s semifinal.
“A lot of teams are going to look at this like, ‘Mountain View may not be as good as they think they are or as people say they are,’” Mountain View senior Destiny Slocum said. “But every team has one of these games, and I am happy that we had it our first round and not the semifinals or finals.
“I’m just super excited to use this as motivation for the next two games.”
While the Mavericks (21-4) did not showcase the breakneck speed they are known for, it didn’t stop Slocum — the reigning 5A All-Idaho Player of the Year — from registering a game-high 31 points with five rebounds and three assists.
The Maryland signee is on pace to break the tournament scoring record of 83 points, established by Sandpoint’s Ali Nieman in 1996.
“They got us on our heels, really that is what it was,” Mountain View coach Connie Skogrand said. “... We weren’t our normal selves, bouncing around like we normally do. Borah took advantage of it.”
Borah (18-10), which was making its first state appearance since 2007, was led by junior guard Kiana Corpus with 18 points and six rebounds.