Sinner’s 3-pointer seals Wildcats’ one-point win

Fruita’s Monument’s Lauren LaBonde is fouled Saturday by a Cherokee Trail defender as she swoops to the basket during the Wildcats’ victory in the Wildcat Invitational.



Up one point with less than a minute left Saturday, all Fruita Monument (4-1) had to do was run out the clock to secure a hard-fought win.

Jessica Sinner, though, had other plans.

Holding on to a 40-39 lead, the Wildcats’ girls basketball team was moving the ball around, trying to run out the clock on Cherokee Trail. But Sinner was camped out in the corner and realized she was left all alone when the ball came her way with 31 seconds left on the clock.

“I knew the second I was going to get it, I was going to shoot it,” she said.

Pass.

Shot.

Three-pointer.

Nothing but net.

Four-point lead, 43-39.

“No doubt in my mind I was going to shoot it,” she said. “No nerves. Just a reaction.”

It was Sinner’s only bucket of the game.

Although the Cougars hit a desperation 3-pointer in the final seconds, the Wildcats held on for the thrilling 43-42 win on the third day of the Wildcat Invitational at Fruita Monument.

Fruita coach Dan Schmalz wasn’t crazy about Sinner’s shot selection, but as one of the team’s leaders, he trusted her decision.

“To be honest, it probably was not the greatest idea,” he said. “But, she’s a great shooter and I trust her with the ball. I trust that decision and it worked out.”

Prior to her big shot, Sinner was already diagraming the play in her head.

“Lauren (LaBonde) and I switched spots at the top and I knew I was going to be open in the corner,” She said. “Before I got the ball, it was already going through my head that I wanted to shoot it.”

That shot was the final act in what was a back-and-forth battle from the opening tip. The largest lead of the game by either team was four points by Fruita. However, the Wildcats spent much of the game trading shots with the Cougars.

“I think we had a lot of trouble in the beginning of the game,” Sinner said. “But it seemed like we kind of picked it back up after halftime and worked together more as a team.”

And when the Wildcats needed a big shot — and they did often — they went to Kassidy Fair in the post.

Fair finished with a season-high 19 points, topping her 14-point performance the night before.

“Pretty much just doing my job,” Fair said. “Working hard and playing with the team.”

And Fair can thank the guard play of both Sinner and LaBonde for getting her the ball early and often with pin-point passes.

“With the good passes you get from them, if you miss the shot, you just feel so bad,” Fair said. “So, I try not to miss too much.”

Fair, Sinner said, is “pretty reliable.”

“We like to get her the ball as much as we can,” Sinner said. “We know she can make something happen and she did that a lot in this game.”

Fair scored 12 of her 19 points in the first half. She also finished with eight rebounds and a blocked shot.

Carbon County 48, Fruita 26: In the final game of the Wildcat Invitational, Fruita kept shooting.

And shooting.

The Wildcats averaged 51 points and six 3-pointers a game coming into their second game of the day, but ended up shooting only 18 percent from beyond the arc. LaBonde, who led scoring, put up nine points and was held scoreless in the second half. Fair had seven points and Sinner added six.

“Being a shooter, you’re going to have nights when you’re on and nights when you’re off,” LaBonde said. “You just have to keep shooting. Their 2-3 zone was forcing us to take shots or dump it into the post. There wasn’t space to drive.”

Miranda Averett and Rachel Scroggins led Carbon with 12 points each.


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