Originally published Tuesday, December 18, 2018 at 12:04a.m.

PRESCOTT — Trailing 39-38 with 1.4 ticks left, Ebony Porter stepped to the charity stripe and calmly hit two free throws, lifting the Prescott girls basketball team past Coconino 40-39 on Monday night.

Prescott returned home for its first home game in almost two weeks on Monday, and it was their best performance of the season.

The Badgers welcomed the Panthers, who sat at 7-2, but Prescott was able to rally late in the fourth quarter to win 40-39.

Monday night’s game was a back-and-forth affair as both the Panthers and Badgers had their moments. It was evident from the jump that the Panthers had a significant size advantage over the Badgers and were looking to attack what they perceived to be the Badger weakness. However, the Badgers held up well, using their quickness to double on the block and force rushed shots and turnovers.

The ability for the Badgers to attack the glass and rebound well put them in position to stay in the game in the first half, along with hitting some key shots down the stretch. The Panthers seemed out of synch offensively and went to the half only up 20-17.

The third quarter was where the Panthers really started to take control, or at least that’s what it looked like early. The Panthers who had been pressing all game long, really seemed to find their rhythm in the early going of the second half. The Panthers were able to force a multitude of turnovers that led to easy baskets and a big quarter for Coconino’s Oniah Baton-Paddock who had poured seven including a three-pointer.

Mid-way through the third quarter the Panthers were up by as many as 14 points, but a Badger rally put them in position to have a chance only down by six heading into the fourth quarter.

Both the Badgers and Panthers had their chances to win the game, but it came down to Porter at the free-throw line for the Badgers. The Panthers were up by one, 39-38, when a missed jump shot by Hollie Dalton fell to Porter who was pushed and drew the foul with 1.4 seconds remaining in the game.

As she stepped to the line Porter said, “I was just thinking all I have to do is make one and we’ll tie it and go to overtime and that’s all that matters. If I make this one I can make another one and we’ll win. I just kept thinking keep going and keep making them.”

And make them she did. Porter calmly sank the first of the one and one opportunity and calmly swished the second as well, to secure the Badgers the victory and their first win in region play.

Head coach Bobbi Yoder was proud of her team’s performance and ability to overcome the second half deficit, but knew the free throws were the difference for her team.

“That was huge,” Yoder said. “We work on free throws every day at practice and she’s done well for me this year but she hasn’t necessarily had the opportunities during games to come through. But, she drew the foul a couple different times and (just needed to take) a deep breath because that’s the pressure situation and that’s what you dream about in the driveway growing up. I just looked at her told her to take a deep breathe, she did and she nailed them. That was huge.”

UP NEXT

The Prescott Badgers will now get an extended break with the holidays just around the corner, but will take the floor once again on Fri., Dec. 28 at 9 a.m. against Raymond S. Kellis, as part of the Prescott Lady Badger Winter Classic.

Chris Whitcomb is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @AZChris32. Email him at cwhitcomb@prescottaz.com, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2031.