BELLEVILLE — Playing their final regular season game before the home crowd, the Belleville East seniors rose to the occasion on Tuesday against the Collinsville Kahoks.
Senior Montira Mosby made one of two free throws attempts with 5.5 seconds remaining to provide the difference as East rallied for a 49-48 Southwestern Conference win.
Mosby's free throw capped a wild final quarter in which both teams made big shots. But the Lancers (13-11) couldn't start to celebrate until Collinsville junior Aubreeney Brady missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 1.5 seconds remaining.
"It was a big win and the best part was that on senior night we had our seniors step up and make big plays,'' a smiling Lancers coach Andrea Seipp said. "Montira (Mosby) is capable of doing what she did tonight. But again, we had several players who stepped up.''
Collinsville led 45-38 with 2 minutes 20 seconds remaining only to see the Lancers go on a 10-0 run and take a 48-45 when Mosby scored on a conventional 3-point play.
Mosby's go-ahead hoop came with 1:02 remaining and lasted until Collinsville's Samatha Buettner tied the game at 48 with a 3-point basket with 27 seconds left.
The Lancers (13-11) then worked the clock down and Mosby was fouled away from the basket.
Mosby missed the first foul shot, but following a Kahoks timeout, the Lancers 5-foot-11 senior made the second attempt and final one of her 26 points to give East the lead.
But the Kahoks weren't done. Following a timeout, the speedy Brady got the ball and raced up court where she was fouled with 1.5 seconds left.
Brady's free throw attempt appeared to go halfway down before rolling out as the final buzzer went off.
"It's a tough to lose that way, but I'm proud of my team with the way it battled back all night,'' Collinsville coach Lori Billy said. "This game was indicative of the way the second half of our season has gone. The kids hard playing hard and they're getting it. This was a great game for us to be able to go into the playoffs on."
With Mosby scoring 12 of her points and senior Brynesha Mosby draining a 27-foot 3-point jumper to end the first half, East took a 23-15 lead into the lockeroom.
But Collinsville came out firing in the third quarter. With senior Lexi Thompson connecting on three 3-point shots to lead the way, the Kahoks outscored the Lancers 19-8 to take a 34-31 lead entering the final quarter.
That lead grew to 45-38 before East went on its 10-0 run. Senior Ryley Blomberg's 3-point basket tied the game at 45, setting the stage for the final hectic minute of the game.
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at 239-2661 or firstname.lastname@example.org