With 2 minutes, 20 seconds left, the basketball official's whistle blew, and Soroco senior Kyla Schmidt dropped her head.
"I thought I had fouled out," she said. "I was freaking out."
The Hayden scorebook agreed, having Schmidt penciled in with five fouls. Soroco's scorebook had Schmidt with four and Bailey Carrell with an additional foul, giving Schmidt the chance to stay on the court.
Soroco's book is official because it was the home team Friday, and the Rams went on to win, 39-34, Friday in Oak Creek.
"This was the game of the year for us," Schmidt said. "It was our rival, winterfest (winter homecoming) and a league game. We beat them on their court earlier this season, and we knew they wanted it."
Friday's game was reminiscent of Soroco's 45-43 victory Jan. 2. In that game, the Rams had came from behind late to win. Trailing 33-29 with 3:18 left Friday, Soroco made 9-of-14 free throws down the stretch to win.
Schmidt made four of the nine free throws, finishing with eight points. Senior Katie Schalnus led Soroco with 10 points. Sophomore Amanda Wilson also scored eight for the Rams.
Hayden played a great defensive first half, holding Soroco to 15 points, and the Tigers had a chance to tie or win the game late. They could not draw a foul or get a good look. Hayden's best chance to pull ahead came with 38 seconds left after Soroco rushed a shot on offense, but the loose-ball rebound bounced through six pairs of hands before being caught by Glenda Long near Soroco's sideline.
The Rams sophomore was fouled and made one free throw, giving Soroco a three-point lead with 25 seconds left. It was all they needed.
The Rams did not make many halftime adjustments, despite trailing after the first 16 minutes.
"Hayden had a great transition game," Soroco coach Danelle Rivera said. "That was what we mostly talked about. We needed to use our feet more instead of going for the steal."
Rivera added that her team is starting to understand good team defense generates steals, turnovers and rushed shots.
"We are working on team stuff this year," Schmidt said.
Hayden freshman Kylee Sweetser led all scorers with 13 points. Junior Katy Koehler scored five.
Soroco hosts Paonia at 2:30 p.m. today in Oak Creek. Hayden hosts Rangely at 4 p.m.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail email@example.com