ST. PETERSBURG — How bleak did it look for Tampa Catholic on Friday night?
With 5.5 seconds left, the Crusaders not only trailed St. Petersburg Catholic by three but didn't even have the ball.
"I thought it was over," Crusaders point guard Meghan Keough said.
First came a Barons turnover. Then TC guard Colette Eule buried a 3-pointer to tie it with one second on the clock. In overtime, the Crusaders finally pulled out a 67-66 victory to claim the Class 3A, District 10 title, but only after another Barons turnover with 3.6 seconds remaining iced it.
Afterward, all in the gym had to catch their breath.
"That was a great victory," TC coach Nancy Kroll said.
And an improbable one.
After dominating play on both ends in the second and third quarters, SPC (19-4), which got 23 points from guard Jerica Coley and 20 from forward Brittney Dunbar, built a 50-34 lead late in the third.
That's when TC (25-2) got on a roll. Behind forward Sarah Brennan (21 points), Keough (15) and Micah Kroll (10), the Crusaders went on a 23-6 run to go up 57-56 at the 1:22 mark in the fourth. SPC went back ahead, then built a 60-57 lead on two Coley fouls shots with 15.8 seconds left.
After a TC miss, SPC had the ball under its own basket.
A deep pass, however, went untouched, giving TC possession in the same spot. On a designed play, Eule got open and drained what she called the biggest shot of her life.
"Obviously, we had to get a 3-pointer," she said.
In overtime, TC went up by six, then hung on, barely.
"This was a tough, emotional loss," Barons coach Nick Vandewalle said.