The foul cries from Spring Valley girls basketball coach Billy Hemberger still might be echoing throughout the Bishop Gorman gymnasium.
In a seesaw game in which there were 11 ties and eight lead changes, one moment — albeit, a poorly executed play — will be remembered from Wednesday night’s Southwest League showdown.
It won’t be the long, off-balance 3-pointer by Essence Booker to send the game into overtime, or the two furious comebacks staged late by the Grizzlies. But rather a noncommitted foul that could have extended the game and perhaps changed the outcome.
After pulling within one point with 10 seconds remaining in overtime, Spring Valley opted not to foul and allowed the host Gaels to inbound the ball and run out the clock for a 67-66 win.
“They messed up,” said Gorman guard Samantha Coleman, who fittingly held the ball as time expired.
Coleman scored 17 of her 21 points after halftime and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer from the right wing to give the Gaels a 65-62 lead with 1:28 remaining in overtime. Shaira Young, who finished with 14 points, pushed the lead to 67-62 seconds later on a short jumper.
“I knew that we had to take this ‘W,’” Coleman said. “Everyone stepped up, so I knew that I had to, too. I had to show leadership as a senior.”
Coleman, one of two seniors on the roster, hit four 3-pointers in the second half and had four rebounds and two steals. The other senior, Skylar Jackson, added 14 points, 15 rebounds and four steals for the Gaels (7-0, 2-0 Southwest).
“They really stepped up tonight,” Gorman coach Kevin Nixon said of his upperclassmen. We have a very young roster, and those two did their part.”
The win didn’t come easily. The Gaels, whose biggest lead was nine points, blew a seven-point advantage with two minutes left in regulation and failed to get a shot after Booker’s deep trey with three seconds left.
Spring Valley almost pulled a miracle rally in overtime, too. The Grizzlies closed the period on a 4-0 run but fell just short after not fouling, which forced a screaming Hemberger to look at his players and point at his head.
“I’m just glad we got that win,” Nixon said. “We’ve got to do a better job finishing. We had a seven-point lead with two minutes left, so we’ve got to close. But this will be a good teaching experience for us.”
Booker finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds for Spring Valley (2-2, 1-1), and teammate Kayla Harris had 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Contact reporter Ashton Ferguson to firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0430. Follow @af_ferguson on Twitter.