Staring in the face of a seven-point deficit with only three minutes to play in their District semifinal game on Friday night, the Shorecrest girls basketball team again found a way to survive.
The Scots leaned heavily on scrappy defense and timely shooting over a two-plus minute stretch that saw them turn that seven-point deficit into a 46-43 victory that sends them back to the state tournament for the second consecutive season.
In similar fashion to their opening round game against rival Shorewood, it was junior guard Brianne Lasconia coming up with crucial buckets in the waning moments to save the Scots.
Lasconia scored 11 consecutive points on two three-pointers, two layups and a free throw as Shorecrest increased their pressure on the defensive end to curtail the efforts of the dangerous Margreet Barhoum, the 5'8 junior guard and offensive linchpin for the Mavs.
Barhoum, who finished with a team-high 19 points, was visibly upset after her desperation three-point attempt sailed away wide as the final buzzer sounded.
Meadowdale head coach Troy Parker was equally confounded by the defeat.
"We played with great effort, we just didn't execute very well," said Parker after the game.
Never was that more true than in the final two possessions for the Mavs prior to Barhoum's final heave.
After Lasconia put the Scots on top by a count of 44-42 with a bucket inside, Meadowdale senior Michaela O'Neill was fouled with only 39 seconds to play.
O'Neill made the first but watched as the second rimmed off to Shorecrest post India Matheson, who secured the ball just as head coach Dori Monson called timeout to an official near the Scots' bench.
But the Scots would proceed to throw the ball out of bounds, giving possession back to the Mavs down by only a point and with 29.5 seconds remaining in the game.
That's when things went completely sideways for Meadowdale.
Pressure from the Scots seemed to affect the inbounding passer, who threw an errant pass past a teammate out of bounds.
Now trailing with only 20 seconds remaining, Meadowdale sent Shorecrest junior Janie Uppinghouse to the free throw line.
Uppinghouse would make one of two and the Lady Mavs would again call timeout, this time with 8.1 seconds remaining, trailing by two at 45-43.
But again it was the Shorecrest defensive pressure that made the difference, forcing another turnover directly in front of Parker and the Meadowdale bench.
"Our girls executed our defensive game plan really well," said Shorecrest coach Dori Monson.
After giving another foul and watching Lasconia knock in one of two free throws, Barhoum had time only 3.5 seconds to collect a pass from a teammate, weave her way near halfcourt and send one, final 45-foot prayer towards the rim.
Shorecrest students and fans swarmed their team on the court as the shot drifted harmlessly wide, securing the 46-43 victory.
"We wanted to go to state, we deserve to go to state and it feels so amazing!" exclaimed Matheson postgame.
The Scots, who trailed 25-20 at the half and 33-27 after three quarters were continuously bothered by sprawling, opportunistic full-court press by Meadowdale throughout most of the game.
Monson said that he believed his team's ability to handle the Mavs pressure was a key to the game.
But neither Monson nor Lasconia would go as far as to say they ever doubted they would find a way to come out on top.
"I've got to admit it was a little scary, but I knew we had it in us," said Lasconia.
Her coach had a slightly more humorous take on his team's late-game heroics.
"Our girls have made pretty much every game interesting, it's going to give their coach a heart attack, but I have faith in them," said Monson only half-joking.
"Meadowdale is a great team, they played a great game and I'm really proud of our girls."
The Scots, who found a way to win despite going only 5-21 from beyond the 3-point arc and 15-53 from the floor overall, got 10 points from Uppinghouse, six from Matheson and another four from senior Christina Jarvis.
Senior Bianca Landa had 10 points for the Lady Mavs, but missed her final four shot attempts after starting the game by making five straight.
The win is the 13th consecutive for the Scots and ensures they will have a week off before taking on Glacier Peak next Friday, Feb. 18 in the Northwest District 1 championship game.
That game is scheduled to tip at 8 p.m. on the campus of Lynnwood High School.
Meadowdale moves into the loser's bracket and will face the winner of Friday's loser-out game between Everett High School and Ferndale next Wednesday with time and location to-be-determined.