No. 3 Highland beat No. 2 Dobson, 46-36, in the second round of the Division I, Section II, girls basketball sectional tournament at Mesquite High School on Thursday.
The Hawks will play Red Mountain for a third time this season in the sectional championship on Saturday at 5:45 p.m. in the sectional championship game at Mesquite. The two schools split the previous two meetings, both were close games.
The Hawks (27-4) used a strong third quarter and three buzzer-beaters to hold on for the win.
Highland held Dobson to three points in the third quarter. All three points were scored by Katherine Hamilton for the Mustangs (22-8), on a layup and a free throw.
Hamilton finished with a game-high 12 points for Dobson.
"I liked our defense throughout. To hold a team like Dobson to 21 points after three quarters is great." Highland coach Miner Webster said. "Offensively we turned the ball over too much, Dobson had about six points off of layups after steals. But we were fortunate enough to make up for it."
The Hawks were led by Olivia Lucero, Liz Rudd, and Amy Pavlica with nine points each. The play of the game came at the end of the first quarter, with Highland trailing 7-6, Rudd threw up a prayer that was banked in from just inside the half court line.
"I just saw the clock after I rebounded, and I dribbled up court," Rudd said. "I was thinking they were going to foul me so I just through it up and it banked in. I was lucky."
Highland extended its lead to as much as eight points in the second quarter but Dobson came all the way back and led 18-17.
With 1.2 seconds left before halftime, Kathleen Cabrera was fouled and made her first free throw. Her second free throw was off the mark but Kayla Miranda was there for the rebound and put back at the buzzer to give the Hawks a 20-18 lead at intermission.
"We had three buzzer beaters and that was huge," Webster said. That is seven points right there. We were fortunate and I will take luck like that any day."
The third and final buzzer-beater came at the end of the third quarter off another offensive rebound for Highland. Krysta Buntrock scored with just one second left in the third quarter and gave the Hawks a 32-21 lead heading into the final frame.
Highland would lead by as much as 13 in the fourth quarter but the Mustangs came back and got as close as five points with three minutes left in the game. Highland would hit there free throws down the stretch to clinch a trip to the championship game.
"You can't give up the kind of plays we gave up in this game," Dobson coach Tyler Dumas said. "At the end of the first three quarters we gave up points and you can't do that in a low-scoring game like this and expect to win."
Dobson will now wait to find out what its seed will be in the first round of next week's state tournament.
"We don't really know with the power points the way they are, were we are going to land," Dumas said. "We hope to be a top eight seed and get to host the first round, but we won't know that until probably Sunday morning."