Thanks to their position in the power-point rankings, the McClintock Chargers knew they didn't have to win Thursday night in a Desert Sky Region elimination game to get into state.
The Chargers were pitted against last year's 4A champion, Phoenix Thunderbird, at Saguaro. At stake was the region's third and final automatic berth to the 4A Division I girls state basketball tournament. Fifteen of the 16 teams in the tourney get automatic berths. The final spot goes to the next-highest-ranked team in the power points. Both teams knew the loser would get in via power points.
All that made no difference to the Chargers. They were determined to beat Thunderbird (21-10) and did just that, winning 61-57 in overtime.
"We didn't want to think like that," said Charger K'Lee Arredondo about knowing that win or lose her team was in the state tourney.
Thunderbird coach Steve Burke didn't start his regulars. They were in, though, when the game was decided in overtime.
Overtime was reached in dramatic fashion as McClintock's Amy Patton tied the score on a 3-pointer with three seconds left in regulation. The Chargers (18-12) outscored Thunderbird 10-6 in the extra session despite missing 10 of 18 free throw attempts.