Lancaster girls basketball coach Jayson Jaskier could tell Molly Mahony was frustrated with herself.
Down, 45-43, at home to rival Clarence with 5 seconds left, the senior standout missed the first of two free-throw attempts that could have tied the game.
But Mahony didn’t hang her head and stop playing.
After a Red Devils timeout before the second free throw, Mahony executed on a purposefully-missed shot and junior Haley Kirisits corralled the offensive rebound but was fouled going up with 4 seconds left. Kirisits made both free throws to tie the game at 45-45.
Clarence advanced the ball to halfcourt with another timeout.
With only three team fouls, Lancaster knew it could be aggressive and go for the steal on the inbounds.
Mahony stole the ball with under 3 seconds left, advanced up the left wing past halfcourt and passed the ball to Kirisits, who banked in a three-pointer from about 30 feet at the buzzer to give the Legends a dramatic 48-45 come-from-behind win.
“For me and the coaching staff, we’re just so into the game, into the moment,” Jaskier said. “Everything was just kind of going our way. We discussed what needed to happen during every timeout and the girls were able to execute.
“As long as there’s time on the clock, we know we always have a chance. Once that final horn went, the excitement level in the whole place was incredible.”
Mahony finished with 11 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and five steals, while Kirisits had seven points (five in the last 4 seconds) and six steals. Seniors Sara Wagner and Hanna Wozniak both had 10 points for Lancaster.
Clarence’s Ella Rose Eckert and Theresa Bienko shared game-high honors with 13 points each, while Carly Reynolds added 10.
Lancaster controlled the game early on, holding a 14-10 lead after one quarter and a 29-21 lead at half. The Red Devils closed the gap to 37-35 heading into the final frame.
The Legends (13-4, 7-3) head to Clarence (11-7, 6-4) Monday night for the rematch and host Williamsville North Tuesday on Senior Night to close out the regular season.
Crusaders edge Aquinas
The Canisius boys basketball team held off a late push at Rochester’s Aquinas to pick up a 59-55 win.
The Crusaders (19-2) led at half, 28-19, and after three quarters, 42-32. Senior Jayce Johnson scored a game-high 24 points, while classmate Brendan Trapper added 14 points.
Jozwiak nets winner
Mike Jozwiak’s first goal of the season was the game-winner in Starpoint’s 2-1 win against Williamsville East at the Northtown Center.
Senior goaltender Cam Antonio made 29 saves as the Spartans, playing their first season in the Federation, improved to 7-6-1-1 against Division 2 foes.