Senior Anthony Dones and his Maine West teammates faced a season-changing moment midway through the third quarter of Tuesday's regional semifinal in Des Plaines.
Thanks to a 21-6 run to start the second half by Lincoln Park, the Warriors' big halftime lead was gone, and so was the momentum as West trailed by 5.
Then after a timeout, Dones hit possibly the two biggest shots of his career.
Both times with a hand in his face, the senior nailed two long 3-pointers to give West the advantage as the Warriors took a 57-56 lead over stunned Lincoln Park.
West went on to a 79-77 victory as they held off a late Lincoln Park rally to survive.
"I just got a couple of open looks, so I took them," said Dones. "All we were thinking about was making it to the regional final."
Classmate Jamal Sherman scored a game-high 23 points for West.
"We'd come too far this season to lose," said Sherman. "Not on our home court."
The Warriors led 64-56 early in the fourth after a 3-pointer by Matt Acevedo, but in a game of runs, Lincoln Park went on another big one to tie the contest at 69.
"This was like an NBA game," said West coach John Bongiorno. "Crazy."
The Warriors trailed 73-72 in the final minute when a 3-point play by Sherman gave West the lead back.
Then the defense clamped down and Dones hit 2 free throws with 23 seconds left to give the Warriors a 79-75 advantage.
Lincoln Park guard Malik Jones (20 points) sank a layup at the buzzer to account for the final score.
"You have to give Lincoln Park credit," said Bongiorno. "We stopped moving our feet and playing defense in the second half and they were able to rally."
"We were in foul trouble early, so we played a few more guys than we usually do. But we always play an up-tempo game and as you can see all the guys are in great shape."
Samuel Mack led Lincoln Park with 21 points, while Dones had 19 (including four 3-pointers) and teammates Acevedo (13 points, three 3's) and Rag Patel (9 points) made clutch contributions for Warriors team that will move on to face No. 1 seed Loyola at 7 p.m. Friday in Des Plaines for the regional title.
It'll be the first regional final appearance for Sherman and his senior teammates after four years of hard work.
"This is something we've looked forward to since summer -- since our freshman year, really," Sherman said. "All we wanted was a chance."