Vicky Gracy stepped to the free throw line with the game tied and just 10 seconds remaining. Her front end one and one attempt had the fans on the edges of their seats before it bounced home. Gracy swished the second foul shot and Bethel's girls' basketball team held on for a hard-fought 43-41 victory over visiting Kolbe Cathedral on January 6.
Both teams left the gymnasium with 3-3 overall records.
Kolbe overcame a double digit deficit before registering a point, trailed by 10 at halftime, and battled back for a late lead before the Wildcats escaped with the victory.
"It's fun. These are good ones. I like these," Bethel Coach Anderson Rawlins said.
A Robin Selitte put-back gave the Cougars a 39-38 edge, their first lead, with 2:57 to go. The Wildcats seized a 41-39 lead on Brooke Lacey's 3-pointer with 1:50 left.
Mia Prazeres came away with a steal and Maranda Nyborg blocked a shot in the final 1:40 before the Cougars tied things on a Brianna Meekins fast-break hoop with just 17 seconds left.
"They threw everything at us," said Rawlins, crediting Kolbe Coach Devon Parker for doing a great job with his team, and adding that the keys to victory were "our fight and our will to win."
It was 10-4 Wildcats after one quarter of play. Kolbe was behind 27-17 at the half but tied things at 35 apiece heading to the fourth quarter.
"To fight back, to get it back there, I'm really proud of the kids," Parker said.
Kolbe's coach noted that the loss of five players to graduation a year ago left his team in a bit of a rebuilding stage, and said his players have responded from the start.
"The kids all played but they were role players. It's a work in progress. That's why I'm even more proud of them," Parker added.
Nyborg had 16 points, Lacey had 10, Gracy nine, Ruby Ackerman six and Anna Riolo two for the Wildcats.
Meekins led all scorers with 18, Mateja Moyer scored nine, Aniyah Pettway dropped in eight, Selitte contributed five and Mishell Pringle tacked on a point for Kolbe.