After a slow start, McQueen made up for it with an exhilarating finish.
Sadaria McAlister hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift the McQueen girls basketball team over Damonte Ranch, 58-55, Tuesday at Damonte.
McQueen’s bus arrived late to pick up the team, then officials cut the team’s pre-game warm up short in order to get the game started.
That left the Lancers a bit out of sorts as Damonte built a 14-5 lead after one quarter.
“We don’t start well without our full routine,” McQueen coach Aaaron Walton said. “We’re kind of used to it.”
McQueen battled back to a 2-point deficit at the half, 27-25. Damonte seemed poised to pull away in the second half, but the Lancers stayed close, finally tieing it at 39 on a 3-pointer by Kiala Spevak. Then, freshman Kendra McAninch hit shirt jumper to give McQueen a 41-39 lead, its first lead of the night.
The teams stayed close the rest of the way, with McQueen taking a 55-53 lead with 35 seconds left. But Damonte sophomore Alexus Hunter tied it with 10 seconds left.
The senior raced down the right side and caught the pass with 1 second remaining and coolly sank the 3 from the corner.
She never had a doubt.
“Last few seconds, game-winning shot and I’m going to shoot it,” McAlister said of her thoughts in the final seconds of the game. “I was just ready to shoot it.”
She said the Lancers were nervous to start.
“But then we got the fell and we started picking it up,” she said. “We trusted in each other and made good passes and it was just a good game overall.”
Damonte coach Ed Shepard said McQueen could be a contender
“It’s our first game. You lose a little focus. I still think we’re a really good basketball team,” Shepard said. “I think (McQueen’s) going to be in the mix on that (High Desert) side.”
Shepard said his team committed too many turnovers and mistakes.
“When they pressed us, we broke the press. It’s just making mistakes that didn’t make sense,” he said.