Photo By Stan Bonifacio: The Thatcher Eagles lost a hard-fought game against No. 1 Page in the state semifinals on Wednesday, 56-49.
By Jon Johnson
PAGE – The odds were stacked against them, but the No. 4 Thatcher Eagles (10-0 region, 16-4 overall) girls basketball team gave No. 1 Page (8-0 region, 17-0 overall) all it could handle and then some in the 3A Girls State Basketball semifinals on Wednesday night.
Unbeaten Page pulled away at the end of overtime, however, to survive the strongest challenge they’ve had to date and beat Thatcher 56-49 to move on to the state final.
Page pulled out a miraculous comeback at the end of the fourth period to tie the game and send it to overtime. With just 15 seconds left on the clock, the San Devils hit a 3-pointer and then stole the ball and put it in the hoop before the buzzer to knot the game up at 45-45.
In the overtime, Page got a slight lead, 51-49, and then added a free-throw. With time running out, Thatcher missed and then had to send Page back to the line. A few free throws sealed the deal, and the Sand Devils escaped at home, 56-49.
In a tough, back-and-forth game, Thatcher led early, 11-9, after the first quarter and the teams were tied at 19 at the half.
Thatcher once-again held the lead, 32-29, at the end of the third quarter and maintained it until those pivotal 15 seconds at the end of regulation.
It was, by far, the closest anyone has gotten to knocking off Page this year, and Thatcher put them to test in their own house. Page will now face No. Snowflake for the championship.