Stow-Munroe Falls girls basketball coach Bob Podges said its best.
For 32 minutes, Stow played hard, followed its game plan and did everything it needed to win its Division I district final with Canton McKinley March 2 at St. Vincent-St. Mary.
With one miraculous three-pointer, however, McKinley brought the Bulldogs' season to a heartbreaking end.
McKinley sophomore Kierstan Bell hit an off-balance, contested 3-pointer with three seconds left, giving McKinley a 37-36 win over Stow in the district final.
Stow finished the season at 22-4, while McKinley improved to 21-5.
Bell basically was McKinley’s offense, as she scored 24 of the Lady Pups’ 37 points.
Stow had an eight-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, before Bell scored nine of the game’s final 10 points.
Stow’s defense was on early, as the Bulldogs snagged nine steals in the first half alone.
Neither team shot the ball well early as McKinley led 7-5 after one quarter.
However, Stow made it clear this game would not be a repeat of the 45-27 rout McKinley put on the Bulldogs last year in the regional semifinals.
While McKinley was able to hit five field goals in the second quarter, Stow guard Theresa Parr started to find her range, hitting a variety of short jump shots.
A layup by Destinee Lee gave McKinley a slight 17-16 lead at halftime.
Stow held McKinley to just two field goals in the third quarter, but the Lady Pups kept it close by going 11-of-12 from the free throw line.
Parr and guard Emily Andrassy were able to hit some transition shots in the third quarter, giving Stow a 28-25 lead after three. Andrassy had nine points for the Bulldogs.
The fourth quarter started perfectly for Stow, as a 3-pointer from forward Lindsey Molnar and a 15-foot jumper from Andrassy gave the Bulldogs a 33-25 lead.
Stow still had a 35-27 lead when Davis called timeout 3:34 left.
That’s when Bell started to heat up.
After a layup and two free throws from Bell, forward Lizzy Stefanov split a pair of free throws to make it 36-31.
Stefanov had done a solid job defending Bell, including three blocked shots, but Bell hit a 3-pointer with 1:51 left to cut it 36-34 with 1:51 left.
From there, Stow did a good job killing the clock, forcing the Lady Pups to foul. Stefanov was fouled with 18.4 seconds left, but missed the front end of a 1-and-1.
McKinley took its final timeout with 12.5 seconds left and every one in the arena knew Bell was getting the ball. Despite having Stefanov with a hand in her face, Bell drilled a 3-pointer from the elbow to give McKinley the lead.
Parr’s last-ditch shot from half court was wide of the mark as time expired.
Stow loses Molnar, forward Lauren Turschak and guard Kayla Adams to graduation this spring.