Four different times, the shot that would cost the Liverpool girls basketball team a crucial win at Baldwinsville on Thursday night was in the air, heading toward the rim, the Warriors powerless against its fate.
Each time, though, the shot fell off course - and when the final buzzer sounded, the Warriors had escaped with a 43-42 victory that improved its record to 9-4 - and may eventually improve the team's Section III Class AA playoff seeding, since it knocked off the Bees (8-4) in their only head-to-head encounter.
The game's opening sequence featured the only sustained offensive push for either side. Ally Zywicki's pair of 3-pointers helped Liverpool race to a 10-2 lead - but B'ville picked up its defensive pressure and made its own 10-2 spurt in response, eventually leading 18-16 after one period.
Liverpool's defense took over in the second quarter, at one point holding B'ville without a field goal for eight-plus minutes as it went on an 11-0 run. Still, it went to the break only carrying a 27-22 lead, opening the door for B'ville to fight back.
The entire second half turned into a tense struggle, the defenses making each possession a difficult maneuver full of hurried passes, off-target shots and forced turnovers. And each side hustled hard for loose balls, adding to the fatigue in the late stages.
Despite the close nature of the game, Liverpool never trailed in the second half, maintaining a margin of three to seven points. Yet it couldn't put things away and, with 1:31 left, Andrea Moore's basket cut the Warriors' margin to 43-42.
Gabi Jordan's missed free throw kept the Bees from pulling even, but with 40 seconds left B'ville had another opportunity, only to have Liz Giromini miss a jump shot from the corner. Liverpool tried to run out the clock while the Bees committed a series of fouls to get into the bonus situation.