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Smithfield • The Bonneville Lakers streamed onto the court, hugging and screaming, where the celebration was just beginning. The Sky View Bobcats staggered back to their bench, heads held high, but visibly reeling at the disappointment of being deprived of what almost was.
Cortney Porter's 3-pointer from the wing with 10 seconds left gave the Bonneville girls' basketball team a 49-48 win over Sky View on Thursday night to keep the Lakers' undefeated season alive.
"I had missed the last few, but I knew this one was going in right when it left my hand," said Porter, who shook off a cold first half to score a game-high 14 points. "I still think it's a dream. I don't know what else to say."
The win clinches a share of the Region 5 title for the unbeaten Lakers, and just one more victory in their final three games will put the outright title to rest.
Meanwhile, the Bobcats lost what was likely their best chance to force their way back into the region picture, though they theoretically could still win out and match the Lakers at 7-3 in Region 5.
"To come in here any time with any team and win is a big deal," Lakers coach Mike Russell said. "We knew that coming in. It's a tough place to play, and Sky View's a great team. They're a team I believe could end up in the [state] finals. I really do."
Sky View had one last chance to win after Porter's heroics, but Tara Goldman's 3 came up short, and the Bobcats were unable to get off another good look.
Using a triangle-and-two defense, the Bobcats frustrated the Laker offense throughout much of the first half, but eventually, the Lakers broke through with a seven-point lead late in the third quarter.
However, the Bobcats came back to tie it heading into the fourth and even took a five-point lead late in the game.
The Lakers this season have seldom been challenged, and they were pleased at having overcome the test of an evenly matched opponent this close to the playoffs.
"It's not necessarily fun," said Kayla Eilertson, who had 12 points for the Lakers, "but it's something we need to have during the season, so we'll be ready for state games that will be close like this."