With Tavake scoring her team's last six points, Juan Diego upended Carbon 53-50 at Utah State to advance to the 3A championship game.
"When we started getting a lot of calls on fouls, I thought, 'This is where I come in,' " said Tavake, who finished with eight points in her five minutes and 49 seconds of playing time.
Foul trouble for senior standout Becca Curran was the primary catalyst for Tavake seeing more action on the floor. Curran, who eventually fouled out, got her fourth with 7:06 remaining and Carbon (19-4) shortly afterward took a 41-36 lead on a fast-break bucket by Kelsey Sorenson.
A three-point play by Trista Vawdrey, followed by a putback bucket by Tavake, brought Juan Diego (17-5) into a 41-41 tie with 4:21 left and started a constant back-and-forth between the two teams over the remainder of the game.
For the Dinos, Lindsey Blanc scored 23 points and her steal and outlet to Chandelle Nichols gave Carbon a 50-49 lead with a minute to play. But Tavake, again on a putback shot, gave the Soaring Eagle a one-point edge with 37 seconds remaining.
Tavake also hit single free throws with 17 and nine seconds left to finish the scoring as the Dinos, who fell in the semifinal round for a third straight year, missed opportunities on their last three offensive possessions.
"When you have leads like we had, you've got to buckle down and get rebounds," Carbon coach Ted Bianco said. "I'm disappointed for them, of course. They've been a great group of kids and been very competitive and it sucks to see them sad."
Juan Diego coach Tim Turpin is in his first year of leading the Soaring Eagle. Two years ago, the Draper school took the 3A title.
"I feel relieved. That was a hard-fought game," Turpin said. "It's a tough road, these are all good teams."
Star-of-the-moment Tavake did have some freshman moments in the late going.
For one, she did miss two free throws to go along with the two makes in the last 20 seconds.
And, when a late fast break by Carbon ended with the ball going out of bounds, Tavake turned to the official proclaiming that the ball went off the foot of a Dinos' player.
That same official had actually already made that very call, giving Juan Diego possession.
"I didn't see that," said Tavake while laughing. "Oh, that's embarrassing."
Juan Diego 53, Carbon 50
R Juan Diego will try to win its second Class 3A title in the last three years in the state title game Saturday.
• The Soaring Eagle get 12 points from Brynn Drummond and nine points each from Becca Curran and Trista Vawdrey in the victory.
• Lindsey Blanc leads Carbon with 23 points while Kelsey Sorenson scored 10 for the Dinos.