Lady Dinos make key plays late in win over Spanish Fork
Despite fourth quarter struggles, Carbon High's strong defense and timely offense help get 43-40 win in Region 12 play
Teams who want to be in contention for a region championship towards the end of the season sometimes need to dig deep to pull out a win at home or on the road.
In a close game with Spanish Fork, the Carbon High Lady Dinos did just that.
Carbon High's Ashley Quinton hit the go-ahead basket to put the Lady Dinos in front 42-40 with 1:12 left in the game. From there, the Lady Dinos' defense took over as junior Shelby Cornforth blocked two shots and hit a key free throw with three seconds left to help secure the 43-40 win on Tuesday night.
Carbon High head coach Ted Bianco said the Lady Dinos did not play particularly well on offense for much of the game but made plays in the final moments to get a key region victory.
"We did what we had to do to win," Bianco said after the game. "Our girls didn't play well on offense but they made up for it defensively in the final moments."
For the Lady Dinos, the swings in momentum were plenty in the second half. A five point halftime lead was wiped away thanks to the 3-point shooting by Spanish Fork as they tied the game at 28-28 midway through the third quarter.
Carbon High responded by going on a 10-3 run over the next three minutes that was keyed by fast break baskets by Giovanna Chiara and Shailee Croasmun.
Spanish Fork would not go quietly as they hit a 3-pointer in the final moments of the quarter and carried that momentum into the fourth quarter tying the game at 38-38 with 6:30 left.
Croasmun hit two free throws giving Carbon High a 40-38 lead with 4:11 left. The two teams went scoreless over the next 3:30 before Spanish Fork answered with a bucket down low to tie the game at 40-40.
With the game on the line, the Lady Dinos did not let a potential victory slip away as Quinton, a senior, found enough room down in the paint for a open look with a short jumper helping give Carbon High a lead they would hold onto for the final minute of the contest.
"The girls finished the game," Bianco said.
Spanish Fork had a final shot to tie the game but a half court 3-point attempt went wide left of the basket as the final horn sounded.
Chiara led the Lady Dinos with a team-high 10 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots. Croasmun finished with nine points and Quinton added six points.
With leading scorer Cornforth, who is averaging 12 points per game, struggling in the game with three points, Carbon received a boost off the bench in the second quarter as junior Annika Hansen scored eight points while going a perfect 4-for-4 from the field to help keep the Lady Dinos ahead in the first half.
"We've had girls step up and help fill a void during the season and Annika did that for us tonight," Bianco explained.
Despite having a rough night on offense, Bianco said Cornforth still had an impact on the game with seven key rebounds and three blocks in the game.
"Shelby is a force on the court no matter how she is playing," he said.
With the victory, Carbon kept pace with Region 12 leading Delta with three games to play. Delta leads the region with a 7-0 record while the Lady Dinos sit in second place at 6-1.
"We battled to an ugly win tonight and at 6-1 in region play we're still in contention for a region championship," Bianco said.
The Lady Dinos (13-5 overall, 6-1 Region 12) will travel to Juab on Jan. 31 for a game at 7 p.m.