HERSHEY -- Susquehannock junior Makenzie Fancher has spent countless hours shooting thousands of foul shots.
Wednesday evening in the Giant Center, Fancher sank her biggest one.
Fancher's free throw with 8.4 seconds remaining lifted Susquehannock to a 43-42 win against West York in an all-YAIAA PIAA District 3 Class AAA semifinal game.
"It is such an overwhelming feeling," Fancher said. "A Susquehannock girls team has never made it to a district championship. It is such an honor to represent our school. It's just indescribable. I can't stop smiling."
Susquehannock (18-7), the sixth-seeded team in the 18-team tournament, advances to play top-seeded and unbeaten Palmyra (26-0) on Saturday in an 11:15 a.m. final at Giant Center. West York (23-5), the No. 2 seed in the field, will meet Gettysburg (20-6) on Friday in the third-place game.
"I am one of the better foul shooters on our team," Fancher said. "I knew that the team wanted me on that foul line. I had to make it for them. I had to make it for them, the fans that had come to cheer us, the parents, the school. I did my best to calm my nerves down.
"I would have rather made both, but I guess one out of two did it."
West York grabbed the rebound and had one final opportunity, calling timeout with 4.6 seconds left. The last shot went to sophomore guard Emily Wood, who got off a short attempt that went halfway down before spinning back out of the cylinder.
"That shot is exactly what we wanted," said West York coach Jon Shultz. "It was the way we drew it up. You can't ask for a better shot, except for it to fall."
Fancher grabbed the rebound as time expired,
"I thought that ball was in," Fancher said. "It was a great look and a great play diagrammed. I just felt a huge sense of relief."
Susquehannock coach Dave Schreiner used the West York timeout to set up his defense and give them a bit of incentive.
"I told the kids in the timeout that all they had to do was play four seconds of defense," Schreiner said. "I said if we can play four seconds of defense with no fouls, we go home winners. It was all in the kids' hands at that point."
West York dug itself an early hole, trailing 16-7 after the opening quarter thanks in part to 10 turnovers. Five second-quarter turnovers combined with 4-of-11 shooting put the Bulldogs
"The first half killed us, it really did," Shultz said. "But I was really proud of how the girls fought back.
"Like I told them in the locker room after the game, at this point in the season, you just can't have first quarters like that."
Susquehannock trailed after the opening basket of the game by West York junior guard Raychel Johnson, but it went ahead with 4:33 left on a jumper by senior guard Jeannette Wilson and never trailed again.
West York trailed by as many as 14 points in the third quarter before storming back with a 17-point final quarter. Four times in the final quarter, the Bulldogs pulled to within a point before finally tying the game with 1:07 left on a baseline basket by sophomore guard Kari Lankford.
"We knew West York had something left," Fancher said. "We knew it wasn't going to be easy. When they made their comeback, we knew it was coming and we needed to push through and finish. We lost to them during the season and did not want to lose again. They are one heck of a team.
Lankford and senior Heather Zinn topped West York with 11 points each. Junior Katie Wagner scored a game-high 15 points and Wilson added 10 points for the Warriors.
Jeannette Wilson 4 2-2 10, Leah Deter 1 1-2 3, Makenzie Fancher 2 1-2 6, Shannon Druck 0 1-2 1, Katie Wagner 7 0-0 15, Olivia Royer 0 0-0 0, Molly Knox 0 0-0 0, Alexis Murphy 1 4-4 6, Abby Barnhart 0 2-2 2, Jess Voltaggio 0 0-0 0. Totals15 11-14 43.
WEST YORK (42)
Emily Wood 1 1-2 3, Kari Lankford 5 1-2 11, Jess Noll 2 1-2 5, Heather Zinn 4 2-3 11, Alyssa Krepps 2 2-5 6, Raychel Johnson 3 0-0 6. Totals17 7-14 42.
Susquehannock 16 11 6 10 -- 43
West York 7 8 10 17 -- 42
3-point goals -- Susquehannock 2 (Fancher, Wagner); West York (Zinn).