JOHNSTON CITY — Kelsey Gerdes' layup down the lane with 5.3 seconds left won the game for Breese Mater Dei and eliminated Sesser-Valier-Waltonville, 43-41, in the semifinal of the Johnston City 2A girls basketball sectional Monday.
"We wanted to set up a play, but it got a little out of hand, so we kind of just went on a free play," Gerdes said. "The hole was halfway open I guess and I kind of slipped through there and just put the ball up and was nervous waiting for it to fall through the net."
The sectional continues with Nashville playing Harrisburg Tuesday at 7 p.m. The championship game is Thursday at 7 p.m.
"We were just fortunate to get out of here with a win," said Mater Dei coach Dave Kohnen. "The thing that allowed them to shrink our lead in the fourth quarter was missing too many bunnies. We normally hit those shots, but we didn't tonight."
Sesser-Valier-Waltonville (27-2) hadn't led since the end of the first quarter and after scoring just one point in the second quarter trailed by eight with 1:55 left in the third quarter when they went on a 10-2 run to tie the score at 33 with 5:40 left in the game.
"The second quarter did us in," said SVW coach Rick Metcalf. "We made a lot of silly mistakes. It wasn't so much what they did us in the first half, we pretty much did it to ourselves I thought."
Breese Mater Dei (19-10) regained the lead 14 seconds later, but Sami McCowen was fouled on an offensive rebound and made both her free throws to tie the score again.
The Knights then missed an easy layup and Taylor Frank scored to give the Lady Red Devils its first lead, 37-35, since the first quarter.
"We fought back and fought back and took a lead and was feeling pretty good about it, but coughed up the ball and that was it," Metcalf said. "I'm proud of the girls for making the comeback, but she hit the shot and we didn't."
Logan Braundmeier regained the lead for Mater Dei on a old fashioned three-point play, but McCowen was fouled and again made both her free throws and the Lady Red Devils led 39-38 with 2:38 remaining. McCowen and Braundmeier led the game with 11 points each.
Mater Dei then ran 47 seconds off the clock before Shannon Lampe drove the lane, but Hannah Garascia partially blocked her layup and pulled down the rebound to give Sesser-Valier-Waltonville the ball back with 1:51 remaining.
This time the Lady Red Devils worked the clock down to 1:17 before getting tied up for a jump ball and losing the ball on the possession arrow.
Gerdes got the ball near the top of the key on the right side and sank her only 3-pointer of the night to give the Knights a 41-39 lead with 56 seconds left.
Twenty seconds later, the Lady Red Devils called a timeout to set up their offensive strategy. Jaylin Haley passed to Garascia in the left corner and she was fouled with 30 seconds remaining. The senior made both her free throws to tie the score at 41.
The Knights worked the ball around until Gerdes found a slight opening to score the winning basket. Braundmeier then stole the ball near mid-court to seal the win for the Knights.
SVW jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first period on a 3-pointer to open the game by Haley, a putback by Brooke Wilderman and a basket by Frank.
Trailing 14-13, Kierra Winkeler drew a foul with 0.3 seconds left in the first quarter and made both her free throws to give Mater Dei a 15-14 lead heading into the second quarter.
The second quarter was a nightmare for both teams as far as shooting from the field was concerned. The Lady Red Devils were 0-10 from the field and held scoreless until Frank was sent to the line with 32.5 seconds left and split her two free throws.
Mater Dei wasn't much better from the field hitting only 1-of-7 shots, but extended their one-point lead to eight at the half by making 6-for-8 from the line.
The third quarter opened with SVW missing its first two shots, but McCowen finally scored a bucket at the 2:02 mark to snap on 0-for-12 streak.
After cutting the lead to six heading into the fourth quarter, Paige Tucker scored to open the fourth. Frank and McCowen then made four free throws to tie the game at 33 with 5:40.
While having an off-night from the field (10-of-36) the Lady Red Devils were almost perfect at the line making 13-of-14.