Mingus Union High School’s girls basketball team held the lead over Lee Williams High School at the end of three separate quarters, but not the most important one.
The Marauders fell 36-32 in overtime on senior night, Friday, Feb. 2, after leading 26-22 after the third and 28-26 with two seconds remaining. Then, following four consecutive Lee Williams timeouts, Volunteers senior guard Cassidy Torrey beat the buzzer on a putback from underneath the basket to force overtime.
“It was disappointing. The girls played well, the girls played hard. There were a few seconds left, we’re up by two, and when they inbounded the ball they basically just threw the ball up and the prayer was answered,” Mingus head coach Frank Nevarez said.
Mingus fell into a 10-3 hole early on as Lee Williams sophomore guard Haylee Davis and senior guard Sadie Snay hit consecutive three-pointers. The host Marauders, who fell to 6-11 overall and 3-9 in the Grand Canyon Region, scored the quarter’s final eight points.
Senior foward Nikki Zielinski scored half of those points, grabbing a steal and going coast-to-coast for a layup and the team’s first lead at 11-10. Mingus junior guard Summer Scott hit a triple to open the second, then it was senior guard Kaycee Williams to open a six-point lead at 16-10, which would be the team’s largest on the night.
After a lull in scoring, Lee Williams pulled to within three before Scott knocked down another three to go up 19-13 heading into the locker room.
In the second half the Marauders scored just 13 points over the final two quarters and overtime. Rather than just missed shots, the lack of offensive production came from turnovers.
“I don’t think it was the offense more than our turning the ball over. I know that there were a couple of times in talking to the team where we would go up four or five points and let the team back in with turnovers,” Nevarez said. “If we took care of the ball a little better, giving our offense a little bit more of a chance to score, I think we would’ve won the game.”
The Volunteers scored three fast break baskets straight to go up 22-21, but Williams followed her two with another three to regain a 26-22 lead after the third.
Rice’s basket with less than a minute left looked to be the game-winner until Torrey’s putback as the buzzer sounded. Lee Williams outscored Mingus 8-4 in overtime behind two Snay buckets from beyond the arc.
Five Marauders seniors were recognized before the game: Center Stephanie Esqueda, Zielinski, Williams, forward Trina Honwytewa and forward Tannah Rice.
Nevarez credited the group for helping nurture growth in the program during the last couple seasons.
“Last year we were a team that showed we could play, this year we’re a team that learned how to compete and a lot of it is because of our five seniors. They came in with a determination to improve themselves and the team because of them and the way they prepare in practice, they played hard the entire year,” Nevarez said. “Again, I think we took a major step forward with the program by just playing last year to competing this year, and I give them a lot of credit for doing that.”