Ogden • Cedar senior forward Tara Shipp sat halfway up the stands at the Dee Events Center, surrounded by teammates, following her team's victory in the Class 3A quarterfinals.
Two years after losing in the state quarterfinals in double overtime a game in which she had 12 points Shipp looked out onto the court and reflected on a four-year high school career. She pondered what it meant to finally make it this deep into the playoffs and wondered what it would mean if Cedar closes its season with two more wins.
She breathed deep and exhaled.
"I've always had that fear I'd go through my high school career not succeeding," Shipp said. "I've had a couple shots to make it this far in basketball, and now we're so close."
Shipp had 16 points and Cedar beat Bear River 51-41 on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A tournament. Shipp and her teammates are now just two wins away from a state title.
"Even just our region play up to now, we're making school history, step by step," Shipp said. "Everything now is just kind of a bonus. We have a goal to finish all the way. We're here, so we might as well do it."
During the first few minutes of the game, Cedar battled the nerves of playing on the big stage. Coach John Elison after the game said they were "shellshocked."
But then the defense started to get stops and rebounds. Everything else followed. By the end of the first half, Cedar had opened a seven-point lead over the Bears. It hovered in that area never getting lower than six for the rest of the game.
"Our offense was doing fine, and we did our thing there," Shipp said. "But to win up here, you've got to have the rebounds and the defensive stops."
Cedar now heads to the semifinals. It is there, Shipp knows, she'll get her chance to cement a legacy she so badly desires to leave behind.
"I just want to finish all the way and be remembered, you know," Shipp said, "rather than go through and not be remembered at all."