SEMINOLE — Osceola senior forward Hannah Demarest stood at the free-throw line Thursday with the score tied against Seminole and 11 seconds left in the game. Her team had blown a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and the Warriors, who hadn’t beaten the Warhawks in this century, were on the verge of losing to the Warhawks for the umpteenth time.
But the four-year starter calmly lofted the ball and swished her first shot to give Osceola its first lead since losing it midway through the fourth. Although she missed her second free throw, the go-ahead point was good enough for a stunning 54-53 win when Seminole guard Kelsey Gerraghty’s 3-pointer at the buzzer bounced off the back of the rim, setting off a wild celebration in the middle of the home floor.
“We’ve worked hard for four years and this is a sign of what type of team we have now,” said Demarest, who had 18 points, 13 steals, 10 rebounds and seven assists. “In the past we probably would have lost a game like that, but we dealt with the adversity (of losing the lead) and had a lot of heart toward the end of the game.”
Osceola (2-0) took its biggest lead toward the end of the third quarter when Michelle Martin hit a 3-pointer from the wing to give the Warriors a 43-33 lead. But the Warhawks stormed back and took the lead with a 13-0 run led by Gerraghty, who had seven of her game-high 25 points during the rally.
The Warriors tied the game three times in the final minute and a half before Demarest’s heroics.
“It’s a first for me and a first for the program for as long as I can tell,” said Osceola coach Rick Nash, in his fifth year as head coach. “In the past, we wouldn’t have been that close to have competed for the win. We’ve had the talent.
“Now, we just have the trust in each other and the full confidence as a team.”