Cicero-North Syracuse's streak of state Class AA final four appearances lives on, thanks to Elizabeth Miles - with plenty of assistance from McKayla Roberts.
Miles, a senior forward, made a layup with 1.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter after Roberts drove the length of the court to set up the play, giving the Northstars a 54-53 victory over Section II champion Shenendehowa in Saturday's Class AA girls basketball regional at Hudson Valley Community College.
"It feels really good because last year we had a lot of seniors, and the year before we had Breanna Stewart, so it was kind of expected that we'd reach states," said Miles, one of four seniors on this year's C-NS squad.
"This year, we have a large group of new players because we graduated a lot, so no one knew what to expect."
Shen rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit to take a 53-52 lead on Carly Boland's two free throws with 10 seconds left. C-NS coach Eric Smith called timeout and drew up what he wanted his players to do.
Smith said the plan was to let Roberts bring the ball up court and station Miles near the basket.
Roberts sped up the court after taking the in-bounds pass from eighth-grader Amani Free. Once Roberts got near the 3-point arc, she sent a bounce pass through traffic to Miles, who had to make a quick decision what to do with the ball.
"At first, I was thinking of passing it back out, but if I had I knew coach would have yelled at me for doing it," said Miles. "I'm expected to take the ball up strong."
Miles did exactly that. Despite two Shen defenders collapsing on her, Miles jumped and shot the ball off the backboard and through the basket to give C-NS the lead.