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Class 2A girls basketball: Payton Van Meter lifts Fairview over Thomas

Senior Payton Van Meter stepped up in the final minute with what she and her coach called the biggest shot of her career, lifting Fairview to a 44-43 win over Thomas on Thursday at Westmoore High school in a first-round game.
By Stephanie Kuzydym Published: March 7, 2013

Fairview and Thomas are familiar with postseason meetings. They met once in the regular season — which Fairview won — and in last year’s semifinals — which Fairview won too.

Still the jitters of a state tournament seemed to get to both teams in the first quarter. There were eight jump balls in the first half, not including the tip. The second quarter is when Hamar rattled off three from beyond the arc, all from the right side.

Then came the change in defending Hamar and improved confidence from the Yellowjackets, who hit jumpers, free throws and layups to take the lead, 41-40 with 2:22 remaining in the game.

Both teams drained time off the clock by dribbling around and not making it to the hoop, and then the final minute of the game came.

“Chaos is a good word for it,” Barton said.

It started with Fairview junior Emily Martens' trip to the free-throw line with 57 seconds remaining. She made only one of her shots. Then 13 seconds later, Van Meter backed off of Marsh and she drained the three. Then Van Meter’s layup came to make it 44-43. With 4.8 seconds left, Hamar had a chance to win it, but she turned the ball over, and Fairview's players began to high-five each other and cry.

With teary eyes, the Yellowjackets stood in the hallway on their cellphones calling family to talk about the late-second victory. Van Meter wiped her eyes as she was surrounded by fans who began to hug her.

“Great job,” they said. Then one blew out a deep breath and Van Meter laughed. “We’re glad that’s over.”