CASPER – Emma Thomson scored just one point during Star Valley’s elimination game with Cheyenne Central on Saturday morning.

It was a big one.

The senior guard’s free throw with 4.7 seconds remaining was the difference in the Braves’ 39-38 Class 4A state tournament victory at the Wyoming Center.

Star Valley led most of the game, Central tied the game 38-38 in the final minute. The Braves held for the final shot before calling timeout.

During that break, Indians coach Glen Kirkbride told his team to not give up any high-percentage shots. Thomson looked to be getting just that as she drove past Kelsey Basart along the baseline, forcing Basart to foul.

“She felt she had gotten beat and was going to give up something easy, so she fouled (Thomson) so she would have to beat us from the line,” Kirkbride said. “That’s what (Thomson) did.”

Basart was a big reason Central (11-11) even had a chance to keep its season alive.

She knocked down a 3-pointer with 52 seconds remaining to cut Star Valley’s lead to 38-36. Basart stole the ensuing inbounds pass and was fouled while attempting a layup. She made both free throws to knot the score 38-38.

Basart finished with a game-high 18 points and four steals before fouling out. Nine of those points came during the fourth quarter.

“That was just a senior making plays,” Kirkbride said. “She really wanted to win and extend her high school career one more game. She worked really hard and made some big plays late.”

The game was nip-and-tuck early, with the lead changing hands five times over the first 14 minutes. Star Valley’s McKenna Brog sparked a 12-0 run with a triple from the right corner that knotted the score 14-14. She gave the Braves the lead for good by grabbing a steal and taking it to the other end of the court for a layup.

Star Valley led 23-14 at halftime. Central got the lead to two possessions several times in the second half, but the Braves had an answer more often than not.

“We’ve started slow all year long, and we were forcing a lot of things early,” said Indians senior guard Baylee Delbridge, who scored 10 points and snared a game-best five steals. “Most of the girls on our team haven’t played here before, so they were nervous.

“It was hard to get back into this game. We made our runs, but they’d always hit a shot that extended the lead again.”

Brog paced Star Valley with 15 points and three steals.

STAR VALLEY 39, CENTRAL 38

Star Valley……………………… 9 14 6 10 – 39

Cheyenne Central…………….. 7 7 9 15 – 38

Star Valley: Thomson 0-0 1-3 1, Milne 1-7 1-2 3, Battleson 0-0 2-3 2, Hale 1-2 0-0 2, Brog 5-13 3-4 15, Frazier 2-2 1-3 5, E. Jenkins 1-4 0-1 2, Butler 3-9 3-7 9, Erickson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-37 11-23 39.

Cheyenne Central: D. Mirich 0-0 0-0 0, C. Fraley 0-0 0-0 0, Baillie 2-6 0-1 4, Gerig 1-4 0-1 2, Basart 5-12 4-6 18, M. Kirkbride 0-0 0-0 0, Cowley 0-5 0-0 0, Brant 2-5 0-0 4, Delbridge 4-9 1-3 10, Allen 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 14-43 5-11 38.

3-pointers: SV 2-5 (Battleson 0-5, Hale 0-1, Brog 2-8, Butler 0-1); CC 5-16 (Baillie 0-1, Gerig 0-3, Basart 4-7, Cowley 0-1, Brant 0-1, Delbridge 1-3). Rebounds: SV 30 (Butler 9); CC 37 (Baillie 9). Assists: SV 8 (Three with 2); CC 5 (Delbridge 2). Turnovers: SV 19 (Milne 6); CC 19 (Delbridge 6). Steals: SV 9 (Brog 3); CC 12 (Delbridge 5). Team fouls: SV 17, CC 23. Fouled out: SV 1 (Battleson); CC 1 (Basart).

Jeremiah Johnke is the WyoSports editor. He can be reached at jjohnke@wyosports.net or 307-633-3137. Follow him on Twitter at @jjohnke.

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