This season is shaping up looking like it very well might be a storybook season for the Lancaster High School girls basketball team.
Regardless of how that book reads in the end, Thursday night will have its own chapter.
Senior Haley Kirisits scored five points in the game’s final three seconds – including a game-winning 3-pointer as the final buzzer sounded – and the Legends earned a stunning 48-45 win over arch-rival Clarence in ECIC I action.
The winning shot for the Legends … pic.twitter.com/VRfsPxMFUM
— Mike Pidanick (@mkpidanick) February 9, 2018
“The way it went at the end, that’s going to be something that I’ll always hold near and dear to my heart,” Lancaster coach Jayson Jaskier said. “That was a special game.”
Down two, Kirisits made a pair of free throws with 2.7 seconds showing on the home clock to tie the back-and-forth battle – but her best was yet to come. On the ensuring Clarence possession, Legends captain Molly Mahony intercepted the inbounds pass and tossed the ball to Kirisits, who fired it up and banked it in for one of the greatest shots in the history of the program.
“It was all just a rush,” Kirisits said. “It felt like it was all in slow motion. I just shot it and it went in and then I saw my team all running at me. It was all pretty awesome.”
Mahony – a fourth-year varsity player – leads Lancaster in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals this season. But when she collected a loose ball for her 54th steal of the season, she had no idea she’d just set up the shot of the year for the Legends.
“As soon as I got the steal I just passed it to Haley and hoped for the best,” Mahoney said. “As soon as she released it I said, ‘Oh gosh, it’s going in,'”
Kirisits had most likely the most awesome final three seconds in Lancaster history. Before her buzzer beater, she grabbed a huge offensive rebound and drew a foul, trailing by two points. She calmly buried both to tie the game.
“It was so scary, I was shaking,” she said. “But I knew I had to make them for my team.”
In a game that was back and forth all night long, Clarence star Ella Rose Eckert scored with 1:45 left to give the Red Devils a two-point lead. The Red Devils still held that lead and had possession of the basketball with 12 seconds left when Lancaster star Molly Mahony stole the ball and drew a foul. Her first free throw attempt rattled in and out. After a Clarence timeout, she perfectly the often-tried and rarely-exeuted intentional miss, which went straight to Kirisits for the huge offensive rebound.
“That’s not something you really practice,” Jaskier said. “You never want to practice missing free throws. But Molly is an incredible player. We had a timeout there and she executed perfectly.”
Eckert and Theresa Bienko all tied for the game-high13 points for Clarence (11-7 overall, 6.4 in ECIC I) and Carly Reynolds added 10 for the Red Devils.
Mahony led a balanced attack for Lancaster (13-4 overall, 7-3 ECIC I). Sara Wagner and Hanna Wozniak added 10 apiece for Lancaster.
Kirisits finished with seven – not bad considering she had just two points in the game’s first 31:55. And her three at the buzzer will go down as one of the biggest shots in program history.
“it was an amazing feeling,” Wozniak said. “To see her make that, it’s something I’ll never forget. I’m so happy for her.”