It took about eight seconds and three passes to get the ball into the hands of senior guard Chloe Welch.
She placed her feet behind the 3-point line and launched it. It went in as the buzzer sounded. Though the shot only tied the score with one quarter left, the Mesa Ridge girls’ basketball team had the advantage.
After playing from behind during most of the nonconference game, the Grizzlies eventually surged ahead for good to capture a 56-49 road win over Doherty. Welch finished with 17 points, nine assists and six rebounds for Mesa Ridge (4-2), while juniors Angelina Jackson and Ashley Bowen contributed 13 points apiece.
Senior Brionna McBride scored 24 points for Doherty, which dropped to 3-1. Senior Camrynne Mack added 12 points.
“Our kids had to step up in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter,” Grizzlies coach Jeff Beatty said. “And they did.”
Doherty held a 28-22 halftime lead, thanks in part to a relentless full-court press that helped produce 22 turnovers. Then, things began to shift for the Grizzlies, who opened the third quarter on a 9-3 run and tied it at 31-31. In that sequence, Welch nailed two 3-pointers.
The Spartans regained the lead with seconds left in the quarter, thanks to a 3-pointer by Dominique Semadeni and a fast break layup by McBride. That’s when Mesa Ridge's Kylie Lenberg got a rebound on a missed Doherty shot. The ball eventually made its way to Monet Hubbard, who fired a bounce pass across the court to set up a key moment.
Welch caught the ball on right wing and hit a 3 at the buzzer, tying the score at 40.
“It gave us momentum into the fourth quarter and put us on top, even though it was just a tie,” she said about her shot. “We knew we were going to win the game after that.”
The Grizzlies went on a 9-2 run early in the fourth quarter to take a 49-42 lead and hit seven of their last 13 free throw attempts, while limiting Doherty to just five points in the final 2 minutes, 20 seconds.
“We were discussing rebounding a lot,” Betty said, referring to a halftime talk with his players. “We weren’t rebounding well and their press was causing problems in the first half. I think we cut down on turnovers and did a better job rebounding.”