In the eyes of Kanab girls basketball coach Micky Houston, his Cowboys have had a hard time dealing with the art of holding the lead in games. Thursday night’s 2A quarterfinal playoff game against Gunnison was no different.
After a 13-point fourth-quarter lead evaporated, they were in need of a weapon. Enter senior Whitney Houston on the long-distance stage.
Houston drained a 3-pointer with 8.5 seconds left, and Kanab held on for a 38-37 victory over Gunnison at the Centrum to advance to the semifinals for the second time in three seasons. They’ll have a challenge ahead with (Richfield) in today’s semifinals at 2:30 p.m., but the Cowboys’ head coach had more immediate things to celebrate.
“The 3-point game has been our bacon the whole season,” Micky Houston said. “One of our problems we have is we have a hard time playing with the lead. We’re not used to it, but now we’re getting competitive.”
The Cowboys led 31-18 as the fourth quarter began, but the Bulldogs kept chipping away until Chansey Caldwell hit a 3-pointer for their first lead of the game, 36-35, with 51.1 seconds left.
After Hannah Reidhead missed a runner in the lane, Braylie Peterson hit one free throw to extend the Gunnison lead to two with the clock shrunk to 22.5 seconds left.
Knowing what they needed, the play was a double-screen to set up Houston, although she didn’t really remember what was said in the final timeout.
“Set the double-screen for me and I throw it up,” Whitney said. “It felt good out of my hand.”
But there were still the final 8.5 seconds to get over. The Cowboys didn’t allow the Bulldogs to get off a shot, and the relief on the players’ faces was evident when the final horn sounded.