Whether it's a single point, or a single inch between a rim and a net, the difference between victory and defeat can prove excruciatingly thin.
Such was the fate of the Liverpool girls basketball team in Thursday night's Section III Class AA quarterfinal, where it took a 47-46 defeat to Christian Brothers Academy.
It all came down to one possession. Trailing by one with 2.1 seconds to play, Liverpool inbounded the ball in front of its own bench. CBA made sure that the Warriors' top offensive threats on the floor, Ally Zywicki and Lytetshia Price, did not get a good look.
However, that left senior forward Sydney Chalifoux open near the basket, and Chalifoux got the ball and released a shot just before the buzzer. The shot rolled on the rim - and fell out.
Just like that, the Warriors' season and quick playoff run was done, and what made it more frustrating was that it came in a contest where (1) it had led most of the way and (2) it got a near-perfect offensive balance, with four players scoring in double figures.
Liverpool, the no. 4 seed, had beaten CBA, the no. 5 seed, 52-46 on Dec. 17 in the Traci Zimmer Memorial Tournament at Central Square, and the close nature of that first meeting gave notice that the playoff rematch would be a tough one.
In fact, both sides would start slowly, not scoring a field goal in the game's first five minutes. But the pace soon quickened, and the Warriors took full advantage. Shannon Seymour contributed eight points off the bench in the first half, and Liverpool led by as much as nine.
At the break, the Warriors led 25-17, but CBA would not go away. Led by Marisa Romeo, who had seven of her 16 points in the third quarter, the Brothers pulled within one, 31-30, by the time the final period got underway.