WASHINGTON TERRACE — The Box Elder High girls basketball team doesn’t do anything special when it practices its free throws, head coach Aaron Dooley says.
They don’t have a secret mantra or exercise or anything that helps the Bees become pros at a stationary 15-foot shot. Sometimes, you just have a good night at the line.
Box Elder made 18 of its 20 foul shots and beat Bonneville 41-36 on Tuesday night in a mid-table Region 5 matchup where the Bees needed every last one of their free takes.
“Eighteen of 20? Yeah, we knew we missed two. We didn’t know if it was 17 or 19. Eighteen of 20, that sounds pretty good,” Dooley said in somewhat of an understatement.
For context, in 12 games where stats are available, the Bees (7-7, 2-2 Region 5) are shooting 63% from the line (it ranks 18th in the state).
Senior forward Annika Quayle scored 19 points and went 8 of 8 from the line, including 4 of 4 in the fourth quarter.
As a team, the Bees outscored Bonneville (4-6, 1-3) 12-11 in the final frame with all 12 points — and both misses — coming at the line.
“It’s a good thing, we needed every single one of them, especially down the stretch there,” Dooley said.
Trailing 24-18 halfway through the third quarter and having been outscored 17-7 since the start of the second, Bonneville needed something to change the game’s course.
Head coach Jasmine Porter pointed to the bench for leading scorer Courtnie Porter to check in after she had picked up three first-half fouls.
Immediately, Courtnie Porter drove the lane twice for layups on consecutive possessions, then swished a corner 3-pointer to give Bonneville a 25-24 lead. Porter finished with 18 points. The Lakers shot 6 of 13 from the foul line.
Though Bonneville was within one basket most of the fourth quarter, many shots just didn’t get the friendly roll or bounce needed to go through and tighten the margins.
Box Elder has had an up-and-down year, starting 5-2, then losing four straight to good teams, now winning two of the last three games.
The Bees have rarely had their full team together in practice or at games but Quayle thinks things are starting to come together.
“We’re getting to that point of the season where we’re bonding more as a team, where we all are becoming players (other teams) need to watch out for instead of just individuals. It’s more five players together,” said Quayle, now a third-year starter.
Considering the manner in which Farmington is beating teams in Region 5, everyone else in the region is jostling for playoff position.
Box Elder and Bonneville into Tuesday at No. 12 and 13 respectively, which means if they stay there or improve, they’re each in line for a home playoff game — maybe two — and a more favorable draw seed-wise in the playoffs.