Palo Verde girls basketball coach Phil Clarke had seen Wednesday’s script before.
His Panthers were down by five points at Legacy with less than a minute to play.
And had the Longhorns right where they wanted them.
Palo Verde (12-5, 6-0 Northwest) outscored Legacy 9-1 in the final 56.1 seconds to pull out a 46-43 win and remain half a game behind first-place Centennial in the Northwest League.
“We don’t want to make it a habit, but we’ve done this before,” Clarke said. “It just shows the heart this team has. We didn’t give up, and yeah, it was quite a finish.”
On a night when virtually nothing went right offensively for either team, Alyssa Amoruso’s steal and layup after two free throws by Jasmin Kiley pulled Palo Verde to within 42-41 with 41.2 seconds left.
After another Legacy turnover, Amoruso drained a 3-pointer from the right corner, giving the Panthers the lead for good with 28 seconds left.
Legacy’s Ivionna Reece split two free throws with 18.7 seconds left. Kiley made two free throws eight seconds later to bump the lead to 46-43.
The Longhorns (14-3, 4-2) turned the ball over for the third time in the final minute, and even though Palo Verde missed two free throws that would have iced the game, Legacy never had a legitimate shot to tie the score.
“I don’t know if it was good defense or bad offense, but in a close game like this, every possession was big,” Clarke said.
The Panthers escaped with a win on a night when they made just 18 of 56 shots and committed 25 turnovers.
Palo Verde’s defense kept the game close.
Trailing 22-16 at the half, the Panthers held Legacy to 1-of-5 shooting in the third quarter, forcing 14 turnovers in that time. Legacy, which had a big size advantage in the low post but all sorts of trouble getting the ball there, finished with 31 turnovers.
Amoruso led all scorers with 15 points.
Legacy’s Candice McFarland scored 11 points.