The Powder Valley Badgers girls basketball team got revenge again.

Belle Blair had 19 points and 10 rebounds, including the go-ahead layup with 1:53 to play, and the Badgers avenged an earlier loss to the Crane Mustangs with a nail-biting 46-44 victory Thursday night in the 1A quarterfinals at Baker High School.

“It was a tight game the whole way,” Badgers Head Coach Allen Bingham said. “Just what a playoff game should be, I think. We were evenly matched. They had some advantages in some things, and we had some advantages in some things.”

Shelie Doman had just hit a game-tying 3-pointer for Crane with less than three minutes to play. The teams then traded missed baskets before Blair got free for a layup — off an assist from her sister, Sonora Blair — for a 44-42 edge.

Belle Blair had a big game despite battling an illness earlier in the week, according to the head coach.

“She was sick Monday and Tuesday,” Bingham said. “Wednesday she was at practice. (Thursday) she said she was all right.”

Autumn Davis and Megan Bingham both hit free throws to extend the Badger margin to four before things got crazy at the end. Riley Davis scored with 17 seconds left to get Crane within two. The Mustangs forced a turnover and had two shots at the tie miss before time ran out. A third attempt by Riley Davis — which went in — came after the final buzzer.

Crane was one of only three teams to have beaten Powder Valley entering Thursday’s game, having scored a 44-35 win when the teams met in December. The Badgers, much like they did to Joseph two weeks ago, avenged the earlier loss in the game that mattered the most.

Crane led for a large portion of the contest, and for much of the night did just enough to keep Powder Valley at arm’s length. A 6-0 run by the Badgers, capped by a Bingham layup, tied the score at 15-15 with 5:13 to play in the half when the cat-and-mouse game started. The back-and-forth contest was played in a four-point window until the early fourth quarter, with Crane on four occasions building a four-point lead only to have Powder Valley cut into the gap before Crane jumped ahead again. The teams were tied in the second and third quarters at 15, 26, 30, 32 and 34, and in all were tied eight times on the night.

The Badgers finally pulled ahead for their first lead since the third quarter, 35-34, on a Josi Krieger free throw late in the third quarter.

They went into the fourth up by two, then pushed the lead to 42-36 — their largest of the game — when Belle Blair scored twice in 22 seconds to open the final quarter.

“Defensively we did some things in the second half that helped us,” Allen Bingham said.

Megan Bingham added 12 points and five steals for Powder Valley, which took advantage of a large free-throw disparity. The Badgers were 16-for-29, and the Mustangs were 5-for-10.

“Every one of the makes were huge,” the Powder Valley coach said.

Riley Davis had 13 points and 21 rebounds to lead Crane. Doman added 12 points, and Kelsie Siegner had 10.

The Badgers (25-3 overall) face Perrydale in the semifinals tonight, while Crane met Jordan Valley in the consolation semifinals this morning.

“I think it’s a good draw for us,” Allen Bingham said of the matchup with
Perrydale.

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