Desperation beat the drawn-up final play Tuesday.
Audrey Faber hit a 23-foot 3-pointer in overtime — her team’s only 3-pointer of the game — to give No. 2 Dowling Catholic a 48-46 win at No. 3 Southeast Polk.
The Maroons and Southeast Polk, which have met in the last two Class 5-A state championships, fought a game with 15 lead changes.
Faber, a 6-1 all-stater, sank her shot to beat the buzzer. Southeast Polk’s pressure defense forced it.
“I had to shoot it,” Faber said. “I was surprised it went in.”
Dowling (16-2), which beat the Rams in last year’s state title game, had hoped for a shot closer to the basket.
“It was a fadeaway 23-footer,” Southeast Polk coach Tracy Dailey said. “If that’s the shot that it takes to beat us, then they deserved to win.”
Faber scored 19 points in the game.
Southeast Polk’s Casey Stuart also scored 19, including a basket that gave her team a 46-45 lead in the final 30 seconds.
Southeast Polk head coach Tracy Dailey talks to her team before the game on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015 at Southeast Polk High School.
Stuart, a reserve, has provided a spark to her team. Stuart also hit two free throws with 1:17 left in regulation to force overtime after the teams tied at 40-all.
“Casey’s been playing really well for the last eight-to-10 games,” Dailey said. “This is definitely a breakout night for her.”
The Rams fell to 13-5 this season.
CIML GIRLS: Tuesday’s results
Dowling beat Southeast Polk in the state championship last March. The Rams won the previous title game.
“They’re both really consistent programs and both teams have really good shooters,” Faber said.
Southeast Polk scored the first five points before an estimated crowd of more than 1,000 fans.
“That crowd out there was loud,” Faber said. “We just had to block it out.”
Dowling had the next 15 before Southeast Polk’s Jacey Huinker hit a basket with 4:03 left in the second quarter.
Three-pointers by Stuart and teammate Abby Penquite in the final two minutes of the second quarter helped cut Dowling’s lead to 19-17 at halftime.
Southeast Polk hit nine 3-pointers in the game. Stuart made three and Penquite had four.
In overtime, Stuart put in a rebound basket with 1:15 left to give her team a 44-42 lead.
Dowling’s Becca Hittner, who scored 13 points, countered with a three-point play with 38.5 seconds remaining.
CIML BOYS: Tuesday’s results
Southeast Polk does not have a player taller than 5-foot-10. Stuart is 5-8. But the Rams used defense and hustle to push Dowling to the limit.
“We don’t ever tell them they’re short,” Dailey said. “We just battle. That 5-8, they love it when a 6-2 girl comes to town.”
The Rams pushed Dowling to the perimeter on the final shot.
Faber’s clutch basket hit the net.
DOWLING (48) — Faber 19, Giersdorf 8, Daniel 4, Childers 4, Hittner 13. Also played: Pithan, Wanek. Totals 21 5-10.
SE POLK (46) — Penquite 12, Huinker 2, Uhl 4, Ira 1, Donels 5, Stuart 19, Mitchell 3. Also played: Mitchell. Totals 17 3-4.
Dowling…10 9 11 10 8—48
SE Polk…5 12 12 11 6—46
3-point goals — Dowling 1 (Faber), SE Polk 9 (Penquite 4, Stuart 3, Donels, Mitchell). Fouls — Dowling 11, SE Polk 13. Fouled out — Huinker.