BELLEVILLE — A year after missing a free throw that could have helped seal a win over archrival Belleville West, Belleville East senior Brynesha Mosby got a second chance.
Mosby sank two free throws with five seconds left as the Lancers upset the Maroons 39-38 Tuesday in a Southwestern Conference girls game.
"I was praying to God that they went in," Mosby said. "I was thinking, 'I have to make these because last year I missed the game-winning free throws and they won by one.' I was like, 'Time to redeem myself."'
Mosby missed the front of a one-and-one opportunity with six seconds left last year. Imani Berry got the rebound and dribbled the length of the court to score a basket at the buzzer that gave the Maroons a 53-52 win.
"This was redemption for Brynesha Mosby," East coach Andrea Seipp said. "I couldn't be prouder. She stepped up when she needed to."
The Maroons got the ball across halfcourt and called a timeout with 2.5 seconds left.
The Maroons tried to get the ball inside, but Mosby batted the ball out of bounds under West's basket with one second to go.
On the ensuing inbounds, the Maroons nearly were called for a five-second violation before getting the ball to Jesheon Cooper on the baseline about 8 feet out from the basket.
Cooper's turnaround shot from a bad angle was off the mark at the buzzer.
"We wanted to throw it a little sooner," West coach Clayton Fisher said. "(Cooper) got caught behind the basket."
Seipp said she expected that the Maroons would attempt to get the ball to the 6-foot-5 Cooper.
"Of course, I would, too," Seipp said. "She just has a huge advantage. When there is only one second left, that's what you have to try to do."
It was a night where almost everything went right for the Lancers, including a 3-pointer from 35 feet out by senior Erin Holl at the buzzer ending the first half.
"I just threw it up hoping for the best," Holl said. "I had no idea (that it was going in)."
Cooper had blocked a shot by Holl just seconds earlier.
East's Kelsey Smith came up with the loose ball near half court and threw it to Holl, who tossed up a shot that gave the Lancers a 21-15 lead at halftime.
"That was hustle play in my mind, when Kelsey Smith dove on that ball and got the loose ball and threw it to Erin," Seipp said. "When you hustle, things fall your way, and we got really lucky on that shot."
Holl led the Lancers (5-4, 2-2) with 12 points. Brynesha Mosby had nine points and Montira Mosby had eight points.
The top scorers for the Maroons (4-3, 1-2) were Cooper with 16 points and Shay Fluker with 14 points.
The Maroons led 8-6 at the end of the first quarter thanks to a late layup by Fluker.
The Lancers came back to take a 16-12 lead after 3-pointers from Ellisha Davis and Ryley Blomberg.
The Maroons closed the gap to 16-15 before a layup by Holl and then the long 3-pointer by Holl gave the Lancers a six-point cushion at the end.
Seipp said avoiding turnovers was the key to the Lancers' good start.
"We practiced all week about being prepared for their pressure," Seipp said. "They are the best defensive team in the conference. They still took us out of our offense, but we adjusted and handled the pressure better than we have in the past."
The Lancers went on an 8-0 run late in the third quarter to open a 35-24 advantage.
Fluker hit a 3-pointer with eight seconds left in the third quarter to trim the Maroons' deficit to 35-27.
The Maroons took a 38-37 lead on a layup by Fluker with 2:54 left.
The Maroons didn't score again as they were unable to convert free throws down the stretch. They were 0-for-4 at the free-throw line in the final 1:05, including the front end of two one-and-ones.
"The second half we played better," Fisher said. "The first half we were no good, not moving the ball, not looking where we were supposed to. Just give them all the credit in the world. We didn't do what we were supposed to do, or capable of doing, and it jumped up and bit us. Congratulations to them."
The Lancers were able to celebrate in front of a large home crowd that was on hand for the girls-boys doubleheader.
"It's a huge night," Seipp said. "We had a huge crowd. I'm just glad for these seniors. They got to experience success on their home court like this."
Contact reporter Steve Korte at email@example.com or 239-2522.