Arundel coach Lee Rogers said he never looked at the scoreboard during last night's Class 4A, Region IV playoff game at Broadneck.
He didn't notice his team's 10-point deficit in the third quarter or the 27-27 tie going into the final period.
What he knew was that, when senior forward Virginia Gonski stole an inbounds pass at halfcourt, dribbled just inside the three-point arc and hit a jumper at the buzzer, his fifth-seeded Wildcats had stolen a 32-31 victory over fourth seed and host Broadneck.
"This team has never quit all year. They've come through when they've needed to," said Rogers, whose squad will face top seed Old Mill at 7 p.m. tomorrow in the semifinals.
A steal and short baseline jumper from senior Missy Lewandowski had given Broadneck a 31-30 lead with 2:54 left.
With both teams turning the ball over and the Bruins (14-9) twice missing the front ends of one-and-ones, the score stayed that way until the closing seconds.
Arundel senior Alina Smith, who had a game-high 13 points, missed a spinning jumper in the lane, and the ball went out of bounds to Broadneck with five seconds left. The Bruins' Jessica Marshall tried a long pass to Lewandowski, who broke free downcourt, but the ball was underthrown and bounced to Gonski.
With two defenders bearing down, Gonski launched a shot that dropped cleanly through the net, putting Arundel (14-9) ahead for the second time all night.
"It was a prayer," said Gonski, who had nine points and seven rebounds. "I just threw it up. I don't know where it even came from, but we won, so that's all that matters. We're going on to the next step."
Rogers said: "She had been struggling all night, but she hit the one that counted. I can't believe it."
Broadneck coach Bruce Springer said he wanted the pass to go to one of his guards, but nothing short was available against Arundel's press. The last option was a long pass that, even if not fielded cleanly, would allow the clock to expire. Jess just didn't throw it far enough. You can't fault her for that. She looked and she did the right thing. It just didn't go far enough."
Broadneck stretched a 19-13 halftime lead to 27-17 with 3:55 left in the third quarter.
The Wildcats pulled even for the first time, 27-27, when Smith scored in the lane. She had eight points in the quarter, including the last six.
"She had a bad game against them the last time we played them," Rogers said, referring to Saturday's 39-27 loss to Broadneck. His team also had lost to the Bruins, 40-31, earlier this season.
"I guess she wanted to redeem herself," he said.