In a pressure situation, and regardless of what had previously transpired, the Cazenovia girls basketball team wanted Kiley Evans to have the ball in her hands.
And with a single shot, Evans paid back for the faith the Lakers put in her.
Evans' 3-pointer with 5.4 seconds left delivered for Cazenovia a 42-39 victory over Bishop Ludden and the Section III Class B-2 championship last Wednesday night at Jamesville-DeWitt High School.
What made the shot so impressive was the fact that Evans had struggled on the offensive side for much of the game and that, despite these struggles, the Gaelic Knights still figured the decisive play would involve her.
With 28 seconds to play in regulation, Ludden's Bella Knapp had hit her own 3-pointer from the right corner to tie it, 39-39. Cazenovia called time-out, then put together what it hoped to be the last shot -- with Evans involved.
We drew it up (the last play) to give her the ball," said head coach Paul Harney. "We wanted the ball in her hands."
Sure enough, as the clock ticked under 10 seconds, the ball went to Evans in the left corner, well beyond the 3-point line. Ludden double-teamed her, but chose not to foul, even though it had a handful of fouls to give and could have forced Cazenovia to inbound the ball again
The play gave Evans two choices -- either firing to an open Carrie Stevens, or shooting. Evans fired away -- and hit.
"I knew I had to take the shot when it counted," said Evans. "It felt awesome, the best feeling ever."
But it wasn't quite over yet. Ludden had just enough time to rush down the court and have Molly Byrne attempt a tying 3-pointer at the buzzer that fell of the front of the rim, allowing Cazenovia to celebrate.