Region girls basketball: Springstead 51, King 46
TAMPA — With the score tied 45-all in Thursday's Class 7A region quarterfinal, Springstead's Reagan Huden stepped to the free-throw line with the King High crowd screaming and banging its feet on the wooden bleachers.
While the Lions had rallied to tie from a 14-point deficit, Huden sank both free throws to fend off the rally and give Springstead (12-9) its first-ever playoff victory, 51-46.
"Those free throws down the stretch pushed us over the edge and got us the win," Huden said. "They did a great job coming back but fortunately we were able to hold on."
After losing by one point in the region quarterfinal against Armwood last year, the Eagles advance to play Sunlake in Tuesday's region semifinals, a rematch of last week's district final.
"It's pretty big for us getting into the playoffs and winning," Huden said. "We are making history at our school and we hope to continue the win streak."
Huden and Sarah Vo, both team captains, each led Springstead with 15 points. In the game's final seconds, a basket by Yhanni Batts and two free throws by Vo helped the Eagles hold on.
Jarielee Pares led the Lions with 21 points, and keyed a 7-1 run that cut Springstead's lead to seven points at halftime.
Springstead stayed comfortably ahead to open the second half, leading 31-14 in the third quarter on a driving layup by Huden.
But as King (14-6) rallied in the final quarter, missed free throws doomed its chances. The Lions missed 10 of 18 at the line, all in the second half, including several in the game's final minutes.
"It comes down to free throws," King coach Jubie Robinson said. "If we make our free throws we probably win the game but that's basketball. I'm very proud of how our team played with this season."