RENO — Whitney Barlow wasn’t much of a factor in the first half of Friday’s Division I-A girls basketball state semifinal.
The Boulder City senior had just four points and three fouls in the first 16 minutes.
It was merely a setup for a fantastic third quarter.
Barlow scored nine points and grabbed seven rebounds in the third quarter, helping Boulder City to a 48-40 win over Spring Creek at UNR’s Lawlor Events Center. The Eagles (24-4) will face Lowry (20-9) for the state title at 11 a.m. Saturday.
“Whitney always plays hard whether she has three fouls, four fouls,” Boulder City coach Paul Dosch said. “She’s our MVP. She’s a great player, but an even better person than a player.”
Barlow, who leads the Eagles in scoring, made just 2 of 5 shots and had just three rebounds when she collected her third foul with 4:16 left in the second quarter and left the game.
She played all but 18 seconds of the third quarter without picking up another foul, and helped the Eagles expand a 24-18 halftime lead to 37-24.
And the Eagles almost needed every bit of that lead.
Boulder City, which committed only eight turnovers in the first three quarters, had 10 turnovers in the fourth quarter. The Spartans (18-13) trimmed the deficit to 39-34 on Maddy Merschel’s jumper off an Eagle turnover with 2:20 left.
“It was nerves,” Dosch said. “The girls haven’t been in this situation. They kept their composure. I wouldn’t trade these girls for anything in the world.”
The Eagles, though, righted the ship, shooting well from the free-throw line to hold onto the lead. Boulder City was 19 of 23 from the free-throw line (82.6 percent).
“We work on free throws every single day,” Dosch said. “We take it serious.”
Barlow finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Katlyn Daly added 13 points for Boulder City. Alyssa Ybarra and Megan Morton each scored 11.
Shawntel Andersen led Spring Creek with 16 points, and Merschel added 12 points.
The Eagles, who are making their sixth state tournament appearance in the last 16 years, will try to earn their first state title since 1991, well before any of the current players were born.
“It’s great. I’m just going to put 1-0 up on the board,” Dosch said. “We’ll let the ball bounce tomorrow. I love my kids.”
Lowry 50, Desert Pines 20 — Desert Pines’ girls could have sworn there was an invisible lid on their basket.
The Jaguars, who advanced to the state tournament by winning twice in the postseason after a 6-20 regular season, made just 5 of 53 shots and fell to the Buckaroos in the second semifinal.
Desert Pines (8-22) made its second field goal attempt of the game before missing its next 17. The Jaguars went without a field goal for a span of 14:33, starting from the first quarter and going through the early part of the third quarter. Jordan Bailey finally ended the drought with a stick-back basket.
“I have no qualms,” Desert Pines coach Lonnie Cambell said. “They played with a lot of heart. They played together.”
Chrystian Myles had 12 points for the Jaguars, who also committed 31 turnovers.
“I wouldn’t have believed it at the start of the season,” Cambell said. “But every week, they just kept getting better.”
Taylor Schwartz and Payton Naveran each had eight points for Lowry.