The Powder Valley Badgers girls basketball team got revenge again.
Belle Blair had 19 points and 10 rebounds, including the go-ahead layup with 1:53 to play, and the Badgers avenged an earlier loss to the Crane Mustangs with a nail-biting 46-44 victory Thursday night in the 1A state quarterfinals at Baker High School.
“It was a tight game the whole way,” Badgers Coach Allen Bingham said. “Just what a playoff game should be, I think. We were evenly matched. They had some advantages in some things, and we had some advantages in some things.”
Shelie Doman made a game-tying 3-pointer for Crane with less than three minutes to play. The teams then traded missed baskets before Blair got free for a layup — off an assist from her sister, Sonora Blair — for a 44-42 edge.
Belle Blair had a big game despite battling an illness earlier in the week, Bingham said.
“She was sick Monday and Tuesday,” the coach said. “Wednesday she was at practice and said she was all right. Today she said she was all right.”
Autumn Davis and Megan Bingham both hit free throws to extend the Badger margin to fo ur before things got crazy at the end. Riley Davis scored with 17 seconds left to get Crane within two. The Mustangs forced a turnover and had two shots to tie the game before time ran out. A third attempt by Riley Davis — which went in — came after the final buzzer.
Crane was one of just three teams to have beaten Powder Valley entering Thursday’s game, having scored a 44-35 win when the teams met in December. The Badgers, as they did to Joseph two weeks ago, avenged the earlier loss in the game that mattered the most.
A 6-0 run by the Badgers, capped by a Bingham layup, tied the score at 15 with 5:13 to play in the half when the cat-and-mouse game started. The back-and-forth contest was played in a four-point window until the early fourth quarter, with Crane on four occasions building a four-point lead only to have Powder Valley cut into the gap before Crane jumped ahead again. The teams were tied in the second and third quarters at 15, 26, 30, 32 and 34.
The Badgers finally pulled ahead for their first lead since the third quarter, 35-34, on a Josi Krieger free throw late in the third quarter.
They pushed the lead to 42-36 — their largest of the game — when Belle Blair scored twice in 22 seconds to open the final quarter.
Megan Bingham added 12 points and five steals for Powder Valley, which took advantage of a large free-throw disparity. The Badgers were 16-for-29, and the Mustangs were 5-for-10.
“Every one of the makes were huge,” the Powder Valley coach said.
The Badgers (25-3) face Perrydale in the semifinals tonight at 6 o’clock.