Just 2.6 seconds remained and Hoffman Estates was trailing Waukegan 43-41 in the consolation semfinal of the Lady Mustangs Holiday Classic at Mundelein High School.
The Hawks were taking the ball out of bounds just inside the half-court line in front of their own bench.
The inbounds pass went to junior forward Destinee Young, who had already scored 19 points.
But Young wasn't about to pass up a chance to get the ball to an open player .
"Oh my God, that wasn't the way it was supposed to happen," said Sara Burns, who was the recipient of the Young's toss. "Destinee was going to take the shot but she passed it to me because I was so wide open. We worked well together as a team and made it happen."
Burns sure made it happen on that final play of regulation.
The 5-foot-6 senior guard caught the pass, raced around a defender to the basket and released the ball just before the buzzer sounded.
Her layup dropped through the net, dramatically sending the game to overtime where the Hawks prevailed 53-50, finishing a comeback that started with an 11-point deficit early in the third quarter .
"It was probably Sara's best game," said Hawks coach Mike Nocella. "She got to some loose balls, she got steals and she got some key baskets when we were struggling. She battled on defense, too, and made things tough for them."
Burns finished with 12 points, 4 steals, 4 rebounds and 3 assists.
"Everything fell into place in the last three minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime," said Nocella, whose 3-8 team will play Prairie Ridge at 1:30 p.m. Thursday for the consolation championship . "We couldn't get over the hump, then all of a sudden we skyrocketed."
The Hawks broke a 48-48 tie in the extra session on a putback by Young.
Junior forward Becca Stoczynski then rebounded a missed shot by Waukegan, was fouled, and hit 2 free throws for a 52-48 lead with 1:08 left.
Waukegan (2-13) missed the front end of a bonus with 1:01 left.
After a Hoffman turnover, Waukegan missed another shot and guard Mary Pettit (7 rebounds, 7 assists) scrambled for the rebound. She was fouled and made 1 of 2 free throws for a 53-48 lead with 23 seconds left.
A driving bank shot by sophomore TyVene Scafe made it 53-50 with 12 seconds remaining.
After Hoffman missed the front end of a bonus with 10 seconds left, Bulldogs junior forward and three-sport athlete Syerra Cunningham (team-high 19 points) grabbed her 16th rebound.
The Bulldogs raced down court for a final shot, missing a 3-pointer from the baseline as time expired.
"Hoffman kept hanging in there," said Waukegan coach Brandon Brown. "They stayed in the game. That girl (Young) looked like a Division I player to me. She looked real tough."
Young, who scored 13 of the Hawks' 15 points in the fourth quarter, finished with a game-high 21. She also pulled down 9 rebounds and had 2 assists while Stoczynski finished with 17 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists.
"Every game is a growing experience for us," Nocella said. "Even in that overtime we had a couple of turnovers because we do not have the experience of playing with a lead that late. So it was good to get this experience. Selena Martinez (junior guard) came off the bench and did a nice job for us, too."
"Our biggest win of the season," Burns said. " It was all because of our teamwork and working together."
Waukegan started three sophomores and two juniors and played much of the game with four sophomores on the floor.
"We're young and inexperienced," Brown said. "But the girls have a good attitude. They've got a long way to go but they are coming along."
Hoffman Estates High School
Waukegan High School
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