When Mojave senior guard Kiara Lemon stepped to the free-throw line with 6.2 seconds remaining, her coach’s words — play with heart and never give up — ran through her mind.
They helped calm Lemon down as she nailed both free throws to lift the Rattlers to a 50-48 home win over Boulder City in the Class 3A Southern Region quarterfinals Tuesday night.
Mojave, in its first playoff appearance since 2011, will play Moapa Valley in the region semifinals on Thursday.
“Our attitude and effort got us to where we are now,” Mojave coach Jessica Harrison said. “This is a huge win for the program, for the team. These young ladies deserve it.”
Lemon’s night wasn’t confined to the free-throw line in the final seconds. She made four three-pointers and scored a game-high 27 points.
“This means so much to me,” Lemon said. “My coach and teammates look to me to be a leader, and at the end of the day I just have to put my heart in it and make sure that we succeed in the playoffs.”
The Rattlers’ (13-7) heart and hustle – along with a stifling man-to-man defense – helped them rally from a 37-30 deficit at the end of the third quarter.
Alecia Kelly hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 23.2 seconds remaining.
“Basically there’s no ‘I’ in team,” Lemon said. “We all have to do our part, and at the end of the day, we just came in and did what we had to do in the fourth quarter.”
Chania Scott scored 12 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Kelly finished with nine points, seven of which came in the final 105 seconds. She also had three assists.
Madison Manns scored 14 points to lead the Eagles (15-11). Ellie Howard had 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Virgin Valley 51, Cheyenne 50 — At Mesquite, Jessica Barnum scored on a putback as time expired as the Bulldogs nipped the Desert Shields.
Alexis Boatright tallied 17 points, and Nathalie Lagamayo scored 11 for Virgin Valley (14-11), which trailed 38-35 going into the fourth quarter.
Brielle Jefferson had 14 points, and Teionni McDaniel supplied 11 points for Cheyenne (11-12).
The Bulldogs will play Chaparral (11-14) on Thursday.
Chaparral 46, Pahrump Valley 43 — At Pahrump, Riahana Davis scored a game-high 22 points, as the Cowboys nipped the Trojans.
Emani White added 11 points for Chaparral, which trailed 30-29 after three quarters.
Kylie Stritenberger had 19 points, and Alyvia Briscoe supplied 11 to pace Pahrump Valley.
Moapa Valley 55, Western 28 — At Overton, Lainey Cornwall tallied 23 points as the Pirates routed the Warriors.
Andalin Hillstead added nine points for Moapa Valley (25-3), which raced to a 28-10 halftime lead.
Adrianna Jones led Western (9-11) with 12 points.