Winters Mill held a three-point lead over Francis Scott Key with 20 seconds to spare.
When play resumed after a time out, Eagles sophomore guard Bailey Mathias landed a 3-pointer to tie the score at 53-53. Falcons guard Shannon Snyder then hit a free throw at the other end with eight seconds left to give her team a one-point lead.
On the final possession, FSK guard Heather Rohwein got off a layup from underneath the hoop, but the ball teetered and rolled off the rim. With that, the Falcons got the 54-53 edge over FSK in a Class 2A West Section 2 semifinal Monday.
The Falcons (11-12) will play Marriotts Ridge in the section final on Wednesday at Marriotts Ridge.
"That was so awesome," junior forward Addi Hill said. "We all played as a team and that's what our coaches said."
"That's the thing, it wasn't one person outshining everyone," senior forward Samantha Petela added. "We all came together to finish strong, it was just so much fun."
After the Falcons beat South Carroll in the first round on Friday, coach Dave Wynne said his team wasn't ready to be done yet. So far, the Falcons are proving that drive to continue pushing forward.
Francis Scott Key closed out the first half on an 8-0 run to tie Winters Mill 21-21. It made them nervous, Hill said, as it made the Falcons realize just how close the game could get. Petela, on the other hand, used it as an opportunity to rally the troops to finish the task at hand.
"It's a new game," Petela said. "We had to start fresh and come out strong like we did in the first half."
Sophomore guard Erin Snyder scored the first four points to open the second half — one basket came when she stole the ball from FSK senior guard Korey Fine and carried it down half court for a layup. The Eagles continued their offensive drive and garnered their first lead of the night, 31-29, off a field goal from Fine.
The Eagles had a two-point advantage over the Falcons heading into the final quarter. The teams traded baskets, but WM got back on top 46-42 after a 3-pointer from Erin Snyder with less than three minutes to go. Each team got three separate free-throw chances and Rohwein took all three for FSK — she went 4-for-5.
When the buzzer sounded, the Falcons took to the court and embraced each other.
"I know when we all get down, we stay down," Hill said. "As a team, we're all trying to boost each other up and give each other the confidence that we need and it helps a lot during the game."
Hill added four rebounds and Shannon Snyder notched 10 for the Falcons. Erin Snyder had nine rebounds and eight assists.
Sophomore forward Bailey Mathias scored a game-high 16 points and Kennedy Cornick added 14 for FSK. Rohwein put up 13 and added four assists, while Fine had five assists.
The Eagles (13-11) opened the season with eight straight wins en route to completing the year with their best record under coach Jen Gosselin. The team's lone seniors, Fine and Rohwein, played their final game in an FSK uniform but the future looks bright for the Eagles' underclassmen.
"Looking at it from our perspective, we can't go anywhere but up," Gosselin said. "We're losing two girls, granted these are two girls who are very hard to replace and their leadership alone and their basketball skills, but with the experience and these younger girls learning from them, that part of the game will hopefully carry over through the younger girls coming into the program.
"Going from two wins last year to 13 this year is a huge improvement and I think that these young girls will know how to play a game with class and composure and how to win games. They learned that this year, and it's something that's hard to coach."
Winters Mill (54): Hannah Stitely 7, Erin Snyder 9, Megan Alisauckas 5, Addi Hill 11, Shannon Snyder 7, Samantha Petela 15.
Francis Scott Key (53): Bailey Mathias 16, Kennedy Cornick 14, Heather Rohwein 13, Korey Fine 5, Ashleigh Zepp 5.
Halftime: Tied, 21-21.