The Spring Creek girls basketball team used six straight free throws down the stretch to seal a 42-37 win over Elko in the Division I-A North region championship Saturday at Wooster.
Elko trailed the entire game, by as many as eight points, but in the final minutes, the Indians cut the lead to just two points. With the Spartan lead down to just one possession and a minute left to play, Elko fouled junior Shawntel Andersen.
Andersen knocked down both free throws to give Spring Creek a five-point lead.
After a quick basket by Elko, Andersen was again sent to the line and again hit both free throws.
Elko quickly scored to bring the game back within a possession, and with 13 seconds left, put Spring Creek junior Serima Thompson on the line.
Thompson converted on both attempts, and on Elko's following possession time expired, giving Spring Creek the win.
"Offensively, we struggled," Elko assistant coach Lynette Davis said. "We had several scoring droughts. It came down to our offensive execution. We missed a lot of easy shots."
Spring Creek struggled from the free-throw line up until the final minute of the game. Before hitting six straight, the Spartans were just 5-of-12.
"I've never been much of a pressure free-throw shooter," Andersen said. "I just prayed before each one."
The win gave Spring Creek its fifth straight regional title. The Spartans now will head to Las Vegas to look for their third straight state championship.
"It's a huge accomplishment, but this isn't why we play," Spring Creek coach Holly Miller said. "We have to come to practice on Monday and put in some work because the teams from the South want it just as much as us."
Elko will join Spring Creek in Vegas as the No. 2 seed from the North. The Spartans will face South No. 2 Boulder City, while the Indians face Faith Lutheran.