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Pioneers win their home opener after holding Sprague to one fourth-quarter bucket

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Players along Sandys bench react during the Pioneers fourth-quarter comeback from 11 points down to beat Sprague 38-29 on Friday night.

Nonleague game

Team Score

The Sandy girls basketball team saved its best for last, blitzing past visiting Sprague for a 38-29 win Friday, Dec. 20.

Down by 11 points heading into the fourth quarter, Pioneers coach Dave Brown put his team into a full-court press.

It paid off immediately.

Jaclyn McCrea deflected an inbounds pass for a steal that led to a layup by teammate Peyton Bradley. Moments later, Bradley was on the move again, this time finishing a fast break all alone at the hoop.

The Pioneers next trip saw Ashley Allinger feed a ball inside to rookie center Sydney Brewster, who stepped through a double-team effort to reach the basket. Moments later, Allinger broke loose for a fast-break layup.

In only a couple of minutes, Sprague saw its lead sliced to a single point.

"We were going to lose, and the press is something we've practiced a bit," Brown said. "They handled it earlier in the game, but this time the timing snuck up on them. We weren't going to let them bring the ball up the floor with ease, and that bothered them."

The Pioneers stayed on the attack with Brewster pulling down an offensive rebound only to find herself pinned against the baseline with nowhere to go behind the basket.

She would not be stuck for long.

Keeping the ball high above her head, she scanned the court and found Rachel Remsburg outside the arc.

"I was looking for an open player, and I trusted she would hit that shot," Brewster said.

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Sandys Rachel Remsburg starts a fast break after pulling down a rebound. She led the Pioneers with 10 points Friday.

Remsburg stepped into the long ball before any defender arrived and banked in a 3-pointer to put Sandy up 32-29 — it's first lead since the game's opening minutes.

"I'm open and I was confident — we needed to get a couple points on the board," Remsburg said. "That gave us the boost we needed to finish strong."

That proved to be Sandy's final shot attempt outside of the paint, as the Pioneers relied on a patient approach to protect its lead down the stretch.

Sandy made it a two-possession game when McCrea spotted Brooklyn Adams cutting through the lane for an uncontested layup with 3:25 to play.

"It was just keep the ball. We knew they had to foul us, we just had to keep calm and collected," Remsburg said.

Meanwhile, Sprague shot itself in the foot at the other end of the floor, missing its final six shots of the game — two of those coming from 3-point range and another miss coming at the free-throw line.

McCrae swiped a pivotal steal along the baseline near the two-minute mark, and the Olympians threw a pass out of bounds at midcourt on their next possession.

The game ended with Adams stepping in front of a pass in the backcourt and beating the buzzer with a layup.

When the dust settled, Sandy has outscored the Olympians 22-2 in the fourth quarter.

"It always feels good to comeback and win a game — those are the ones that you remember," Brown said. "It's our first home game, and we're on break so the kids got to play in front of cousins and extended family."

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Sandys Peyton Bradley looks for a path to the basket against Spragues Nellie Brown.

The Pioneers return to the court for the Century tournament Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 26-28.

Sprague built a double-digit margin in the second quarter when Abby Haas and Alyssa Meza sank 3s on back-to-back possessions. The Olympians' Sydney Goergen pulled down an offensive rebound and swished an 8-footer from the baseline while falling away from the hoop for a 21-10 halftime lead.

"Being down at halftime, they didn't like that feeling," Brown said. "I felt like we were ready to go when we came out of the locker room."

Sandy got four looks at the basket on its first possession of the third quarter, as Brewster hit the boards and kicked the ball out to teammates on the perimeter. The trip ended with Adams sinking a 16-footer from the baseline.

"It gave us another chance to shoot and kept the ball in our hands," Brewster said.

Sandy inched closer when Remsburg made a long pass ahead to Peyton Bradley, who pumped the brakes in the lane, spun backward and dished off a pass to Adams, who finished the fast break with a layup.

Sprague answered when Heaven James took an inbounds pass and put the ball over the front of the rim at the third-quarter buzzer, returning the Olympians to an 11-point lead.

SPRAGUE 9 12 6 2 — 29

SANDY 7 3 6 22 — 38

Sprague (29) — Baylee Butler 7, Tyla Harris 6, Abby Haas 5, Sydney Goergen 4, Heaven James 4, Alyssa Meza 3, Rogers, Brown.

Sandy (38) — Rachel Remsburg 10, Brooklyn Adams 9, Sydney Brewster 7, Ashley Allinger 4, Peyton Bradley 4, Jaclyn McCrea 2, Trinity Hill 2, Turin, Dalton, Lucky.

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Due to an early Christmas deadline, this story is slated for our Jan. 1, New Year's print edition.

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