The Flowing Wells girls basketball team needed all 25 of Lyndsay Leikem's points Thursday night to escape with a 44-39 win over Queen Creek in the semifinals of the Division II, Section I tournament at Amphi High School.
Leikem, an Indiana commit, was the only Caballero to score in the fourth quarter, going a perfect 6 for 6 from the free-throw line. She also had a steal with seven seconds left to seal the game.
"She's going to will us to victory every night of the week," Flowing Wells coach Michael Perkins said. "There's a reason she's going to Indiana."
Leikem has been leading the charge for Flowing Wells all season and is also one of the main reasons the Caballeros will play Canyon del Oro in Saturday's sectional championship game at 5:45 p.m.
"She makes everyone around her better," Perkins added. "She's so unselfish, she's so smart, she knows basketball, she knows the right play to make at the right time, she helps her teammates, she's just a consummate player."
Having already given up 25 points by halftime, it didn't look like the Caballeros (25-4) were going to hold their seventh straight opponent below 40 points.
But thanks to depth and defense, Flowing Wells held the Bulldogs to 14 in the second half.
After being challenged by their coach at the break, the Caballeros responded by going on a 16-6 run and finished the third quarter up 38-31, fueled by 11 forced turnovers in that period alone and 16 in the second half.
"Our defensive intensity is one of our biggest focuses every game," Leikem said. "If it wasn't for our defense, we wouldn't have won."
Now 24-1 in their last 25 games, the Caballeros extended their win streak to 11 games.
Other than a slip up on Jan. 11 at CDO, the Caballeros haven't even come close to losing since November, and now they have a shot to avenge that loss.
With the competition picking up and the state tournament just around the corner, Leikem and the Caballeros welcomed the challenge from Queen Creek.
"That's a tournament quality team," Perkins said. "They really gave us a good test tonight, we needed it."