Boulder City girls basketball coach Brian Lemmel’s face was nearly as blue as his dress shirt Saturday night.
That’s what happens when you spend several agonizing moments watching your opponent shoot free throws that could end your team’s title hopes.
But after Karlee Koopman rebounded Ellie Biasi’s missed free throw and was fouled with 1.2 seconds left, Lemmel could finally let out a breath as his Eagles held on for a 44-43 win over Virgin Valley in the Class 3A Southern League title game at Desert Oasis.
“It was on the kids’ shoulders,” Lemmel said. “And both teams had kids that stepped up and played hard, played well all game long. It was a battle of two of the best teams in the state. It was a great fight.”
Both teams advance to the 3A state tournament, which begins Friday at Desert Oasis.
Boulder City star Caiti Forrester had struggled with her outside shooting all night but knocked down her only 3-pointer with 47 seconds remaining to give the Eagles (11-10) a 44-41 lead.
“That shows the poise that Caiti has,” Lemmel said. “She’s willing to struggle and continue to do the things that have made her successful and will make her successful for the team.”
Virgin Valley (21-8) called timeout with 11.8 seconds to go, and Lisa Henderson was fouled by Rachel Moody on a 3-point attempt with 5.7 seconds left.
Henderson hit the first two free throws but missed the third. The scramble for the rebound resulted in a held ball, giving possession to Virgin Valley.
The Bulldogs got the ball inside to Biasi, who was fouled with 2.9 seconds to play.
But Biasi missed both shots, and the Eagles held on.
Forrester finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Moody added 10 points and 12 rebounds, and freshman Koopman had 12 points and nine boards.
Shelby Brotherson came off the bench to score 12 points to lead Virgin Valley. Biasi added 10 points and 11 rebounds.
■ Moapa Valley 63, Boulder City 55 — Max Jenkins turned the Class 3A Southern League boys final into his own showcase.
The Moapa Valley senior poured in 33 points, including 10 during a decisive 19-6 third-quarter run that lifted the Pirates past Boulder City.
Both teams advance to the state semifinals Friday at Desert Oasis.
Shaun Hill added 14 points for the Pirates (14-8).
Jeremy Smith and Alex Dillon each scored 12 points to lead the Eagles (14-17).NevadaPreps.com
In-depth high school sports coverage