The only surprise to come out of Twin Bridges’ win over Granite in the semifinals of the District 12C Tournament came in the first quarter.
The Twin Bridges junior had just scored a basket to give the Falcons an 11-point lead and was running to the other end of the court when it was announced that Oliverson had just surpassed the 1,000-point plateau.
Oliverson had no idea.
“I didn’t even hear them announce it,” Oliverson said after the Falcons 45-20 win over the Prospectors at the Maroon Activities Center. “I was just running down the court playing defense and everyone started giving me hugs.”
There were hugs all around about an hour later when the Lady Falcons secured their spot in Saturday’s championship game.
The result was expected for Twin Bridges, which entered the tournament at the No. 1 seed but opted to give its first-round bye to their rival Ennis.
The Falcons had beaten Granite twice during the regular season, scoring a combined 120 points in the process, but the Prospectors didn’t seem the least bit intimidated by their more experienced opponent.
Junior Jaden Comings led the first-quarter charge for the Prospectors by scoring seven points in the first four minutes.
But Twin Bridges had too many weapons on its side and pulled away to a 22-10 advantage by the end of the first quarter.
Oliverson led all players with 18 points, which gave her a head start on her next 1,000 points. Teammates Michaela Madden and RaeAnne Bendon added six and five points, respectively.
“That’s pretty awesome,” Twin Bridges coach Josh Keller said of Oliverson’s milestone. “We just found out a couple of nights ago that she was near the mark. That’s a great milestone for anybody to reach, and especially to do it her junior year. We’re so proud of her.
“She’s such a good player and does such a good job. Not only does she get 1,000 points but she gets all of her teammates involved all of the time as well.”
That in itself will come in handy when the Falcons take on the Mustangs in the finale. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Ennis got to the championship by surviving a challenging game against Drummond in which the Mustangs beat the Trojans, 45-37.
It was the third time this season that Ennis has beaten Drummond but all games have been relatively close.
Likewise, Twin Bridges will be in search of its third win against Ennis this season.
Ennis coach Jordan Overstreet said that the first-round bye did hurt his team but could help it in the long run.
“That’s a huge sigh of relief,” Overstreet said. “They’ve battled us tough three times now. It’s a tough one, especially having the first one of the tournament being a semifinal game. They put pressure on us and kept it close but we were able to maintain our composure, knocked down some free throws and got it done.”
Keller said that he opted for the first-round bye because the extra game gave his team a chance to familiarize itself with the arena.
“We have the possibility of two tournaments here so why not come in and get as many shots as we can?” Keller said. “It’s like an extra game or an extra practice in a gym that we’re going to be in for the next two weeks.
“The first two games have actually been good for us. We got to work on a few things and we got some younger kids some experience. We’ve gotten used to the gym a little bit, everybody has gotten a few shots up so that’s been good as well. I think we’re OK with that.”
Just like in earlier wins over the Trojans, the Mustangs had a hard time pulling away in Friday’s game.
Ennis led, 21-17, after the break but could only add one point to their lead after three quarters.
The Mustangs were able to open up a 33-26 lead with 5:10 to play and still led by seven points with 3:50 on the clock but the Trojans made things interesting down the stretch.
Ennis’ 37-30 lead was trimmed to four points when Sofia DeSantiago hit a 3-pointer from the left wing with 2:12 on the clock.
DeSantiago added a pair of free throws that cut Ennis’ led to 37-35 with 1:51 to play, and a free throw by Ahnna Goodrich with 1:28 left made it a 37-36 game.
The semifinal game featured 20 fouls in the fourth quarter, and that’s where the Mustangs were able to keep their advantage. Philpott netted three free throws in the final minute and Jourdain Klein added two more to hold off the Trojans.
“I think it hurt us in the nerve category,” Overstreet said of jumping into the tournament in the semifinal round,” Saturday it’s going to be our best friend in the leg category. It’s the best of both worlds there. Tonight it hurt us but (Satuday) I think it’s going to be our best friend.”
Ennis also came up big when it came to rebounding some of its missed free throws, keeping possession of the ball and eating more time off of the clock.
Philpott led the Mustangs with 12 points, while Klein and Whitney McKitrick added 11 and 10 respectively.
Morgan Radtke scored nine points for the Trojans, who will return to action at 12:30 p.m., Saturday against Harrison-Willow Creek. The winner of that game will play for the consolation championship.
“I’m not disappointed,” Drummond coach Sara Wagner said. “I’m never disappointed in my girls. I couldn’t ask any more of them. They did everything we asked of them.
“They’ll let it hurt (Friday night) and be back ready to play.”