Jummel Hidrosollo / Special to the Home News
Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009 | midnight
- What: 3A state girls basketball tournament
- When: semifinals, 6:20 p.m. on Feb. 27; championship, 6:40 p.m. on Feb. 28
- Where: semifinals at Desert Oasis; championship at The Orleans Arena
- Cost: adults, $7; students $5
- Info: NIAA.com
Boulder City High's girls basketball team is back in the state tournament for the first time since finishing as state runners-up in 2004.
"It's such a big swing from last year. We're really excited to be here," Boulder City senior forward Caiti Forrester said.
Forrester was referring to the team going from winless in 3A Southern League play and missing the playoffs last year to winning the 3A Southern League championship on Saturday.
The Eagles defeated Virgin Valley 44-43 for the crown and the league's No. 1 seed in the 3A state tournament this weekend. Boulder City faces Winnemucca's Lowry High,, the 3A Northern League's No. 2 seed, at 6:20 p.m. Friday at Desert Oasis.
Forrester has been the team's leading only scorer throughout the season, and came through again with the league championship on the line.
Despite scoring two points in the first half against Virgin Valley, she scored 18 in the second half, including a 3-point shot with 47 seconds in the game to lift her team to a 44-41 lead.
"It shows the poise Caiti has. She's willing to struggle, but continue to do the things that have made her successful," Boulder City coach Brian Lemmel said.
Forrester finished with a double-double, making 18 points on 7-of-18 shooting and grabbing 11 rebounds. Junior forward Rachel Moody also had a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards. Freshman center Karlee Koopman was 6-of-11 from the field for 12 points and six rebounds.
Virgin Valley had chances to win in the final seconds. Bulldogs senior guard Lisa Henderson was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer with 5.7 seconds left. However, she only made two of the ensuing three free throws attempts to leave Boulder City with a one-point lead.
Virgin Valley rebounded the missed free throw and senior guard Ellie Biasi was fouled with 2.9 seconds, but she missed both her free throws and the Eagles secured the rebound and gained the victory.
"Mistakes happen and they have cost us games this season," Lemmel said. "Fortunately that one didn't cost us this game."
The Eagles advanced to the league championship game after a 60-52 win against Moapa Valley in the semifinals on Feb. 19. Forrester led the way with 30 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Koopman shined in her playoff debut with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
"It was a little nerve-wracking at the start of the game, but I knew I could count on everyone and that gave me confidence," Koopman said.
She said she's looking forward to playing in the state tournament.
"It's amazing. I'm a freshman in my first year on varsity," she said. "We'll be ready. We practiced really good this past week for this game. We'll be ready."
Brent Hinckley is the Boulder City News sports writer and can be reached at 990-7822 or [email protected].