Through three quarters, Sunrise Mountain’s girls basketball team was being dominated on the glass.
Taller, stronger Virgin Valley held a huge rebounding edge and a 10-point lead, so the Miners went to Plan B — scrambling all over the court.
It couldn’t have turned out better.
Sunrise Mountain forced 15 turnovers in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter to get back into the game and rallied again in overtime for a 63-61 home win Monday in the Sunrise League opener for both schools.
“We had a game last week where we were down 17-1, and I told them the to do the same exact thing, continue to play hard-nosed defense,” Sunrise Mountain coach Chris Williams said. “We were going to score some baskets, but if we didn’t stop them from scoring, which we couldn’t do early, we were going to lose.
“Being down in that game last week, the kids learned how not to give up.”
Virgin Valley outrebounded the Miners 46-24 in the first three quarters and held a 42-32 lead with eight minutes left.
And could barely get a shot off for the next four minutes.
Constant pressure by Sunrise Mountain forced turnovers on 15 of 18 possessions and allowed the Miners to rattle off 10 straight points.
“We knew we were undersized,” Williams said. “We made it a guards’ game, I guess.”
The Miners (7-7), who tied the school record for wins in a year, weren’t done, taking a one-point lead in the final minute of regulation. But a traveling violation gave the Bulldogs (5-7) a last chance, and Spencer Green hit 1 of 2 free throws with 2.4 seconds to play to force overtime.
Sunrise Mountain, which erased an early 16-point deficit in a narrow loss last Friday, fell behind 61-57 with 2:05 to go in overtime, but forced turnovers on six of the Bulldogs’ final seven possessions.
Jasmyn Rodriguez had a steal and a layup, and Brittany Veal hit 4 of 6 free throws in a 22-second span to put the Miners ahead 63-61 with 57.5 seconds left.
After a Virgin Valley miss, Veal was fouled with 17.1 seconds to go and missed both free throws, but a jump ball on the second miss gave Sunrise Mountain possession, and the Miners dribbled out the clock as Virgin Valley didn’t foul.
Veal, who had four points in the first half, finished with 30. Rodriguez added 17 points.
“We got good guard play, and Brittany really found it. She dug deep,” Williams said.
Abbie Barnard led the Bulldogs with 21 points, and Kourtney Metzger supplied 14 points and 11 rebounds.
“It’s a win,” Williams said. “We’re 7-7 now. They only won seven games last year. I’d like to think I can help make a difference with them. Unless I fall flat on my face, I think we can get at least eight.”
Contact reporter Bartt Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5230.