Erin Snyder took a pass from Winters Mill teammate Addi Hill near the sideline with three seconds on the clock.
The sophomore guard turned, and with no time to waste, successfully landed a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded. The Falcons on the court erupted, as did the players on the bench, and Snyder was pulled into hugs as the girls cleared the court — her last-second shot gave Winters Mill the final edge over South Carroll, 48-46.
A timeout was called moments before Snyder's buzzer-beater and the Falcons took that time to draw up their usual sideline play. This time, the norm didn't necessarily play out as expected.
"It wasn't the exact option we drew up but to her credit, Addi did a great job of settling the play to the opposite side and made a great pass," Falcons coach Dave Wynne said. "Erin just found her spot and hit a clutch shot so really good executive when we needed it there. Somehow she found herself wide open and hit a huge shot."
In addition to her game-high 18 points, Snyder notched five rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Junior guard Hannah Stitely had six assists and four rebounds, and senior forward Samantha Petela added seven rebounds for the Falcons (5-9, 3-4 county).
South Carroll had momentum from the start and only trailed by one after the first quarter — the Cavaliers wouldn't lose the lead again until late in the third. Sophomore guard Lilly Cooper, who scored 12 points for the Cavs, built a 9-0 run of her own in the second frame to keep SC ahead, 20-16.
Two 3s from Cooper and Marlee Carroll pushed that lead to 29-19, but the Falcons' Shannon Snyder responded with a 3 of her own to cut the deficit 29-23 at the buzzer.
The Falcons kept the Cavaliers scoreless in the opening minutes of the third quarter. Petela's layup with 4:53 to go boosted WM ahead 30-29, but SC guard Bailey Patrick responded to regain the lead.
"I think we came out in the third quarter, adjusted a couple things and the big thing we did is we just gave a better effort," Wynne said. "We boxed out a little bit harder, ran a bit different defense than we did in the first half and overall the kids just hustled and came out very intense in the second half.
"We just executed our defense a little better and were able to get harder cuts and execute more offensive stuff as well so it really was just a total team effort of focus and playing the second half as intense as they could."
Snyder and Petela traded points back and forth on a 10-0 run for a 43-40 Winters Mill lead with less than two minutes remaining. South Carroll answered back with two 3s from Patrick and it was 46-45.
Two timeouts later and that last-second shot from Snyder made Winters Mill victorious.
"We all work together to try and run the play that Wynne set for us," Snyder said. "It worked well and I got open and we were very excited after."
SC sophomore guard Riley Evans added 12 points, in addition to Cooper's 12 as well. Patrick added 10 for the Cavaliers (5-10, 2-5).
"I think tonight's game shows all the progress we've made," Cavaliers coach Liz Padgett said. "These teams, a lot of them beat us [by] 15-20 points our first time around and we've come a long way in these games. Unfortunately tonight we didn't come out on the top end but we need that to learn. We need that experience to be better and we can finally be in the games and get the experience like that, then we will be better for playoffs and that's the goal."