WYNNEWOOD - With the seconds quickly ticking off the clock during a quarterfinal game of the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association girls basketball tournament, luck was on No. 6 seed Mercersburg's side.
Mercersburg's Molly Taylor used some last-second heroics with a put-back at the buzzer to secure the Blue Storm a 48-47 victory over No. 3 Friends Central School, which advances them to the PAISAA final four for the first time in school history.
The Blue Storm will play in a semifinal in Philadelphia, at Penn Charter. Mercersburg will take on No. 7 Abington Friends at 8 p.m. on Friday.
Despite facing a nine-point deficit against Friends Central with six minutes left to play, Mercersburg kept pushing and went on a 7-0 run in the final two minutes to keep it close. The Blue Storm strategically fouled to keep them in the game. Friends converted on only 2 of 8 free throw attempts in the final two minutes.
With 12 seconds left, Taylor drained a 3-pointer from the corner to cut the deficit to one. After Friends Central missed a foul shot, Merccersburg brought the ball downcourt and Taylor took a shot from the corner and missed. But she followed the shot, and, after teammates Tori Yoder and Isiuwa Oghagbon tiped the ball to keep it alive, Taylor gained control and banked in the game-winner as time expired.
"The whole team came through in the clutch during the final two minutes and did the things we needed to do to pull out the win," Mercersburg coach Katie LaRue said. "When things didn't go our way, we didn't quit, and I am so proud of our effort; we literally played hard until the final second."
Taylor finished the game with 16 points and six assists. Yoder tallied 12 points and had eight rebounds, and Sarah Lyman scored 11 points and had three assists. Oghagbon led the team with 14 boards.
Mercersburg 48, Friends Central 47
Sam Goldman 0 0-0 0, Joana Santos 3 0-0 6, Sarah Lyman 4 2-2 11, Molly Taylor 7 0-0 16, Carrie Jorlin 0 0-0 0, Maddie Jones 0 0-0 0, Patrice McGloin 0 0-0 0, Isiuwa Oghagbon 1 1-2 3. Totals — 21 3-4 48.
Friends Central (47)
Jordan 5 1-2 14, Ginsberg 1 0-0 2, MuCurdy 3 0-1 6, Vaughn 11 0-3 22, Smith 1 1-6 3. Totals — 21 2-12 47.
Mercersburg _ 14 _ 9 _ 11 _ 14 _ — _ 48
Friends Central _ 15 _ 15 _ 9 _ 8 _ — _ 47
3-point goals — Merc 3 (Taylor 2, Lyman), FC 3 (Jordan).