The Douglas girls' basketball didn't lead for much of the game Friday night, but they led when it counted and brought home a win in a down-to-the-wire thriller.
Point guard Bridget Maestretti hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 43 seconds left and Lisa Christen blocked a shot with one second left on the clock to preserve the lead as Douglas escaped with a 41-40 win over North Valleys.
Maestretti's shot gave Douglas its only lead of the entire game.
"We took our only lead at the most opportune time," Douglas coach Werner Christen said. "Give credit to our girls for scratching it out, but you have to give North Valleys credit too. They really didn't deserve to lose this game.
"They played very hard and threw some weird stuff at us. It was a battle."
The Panthers led by as many as seven in the game but couldn't quite put enough offense together to pull any further away. Douglas, on the other hand, got within two points 10 different times and tied the game up four times but just couldn't find a way to break through until the end.
Douglas' Jessica Waggoner stole the ball at half court and streaked back down for an easy lay-up with 1:15 left to tie the score at 38, but North Valleys answered right back with a basket from Kaitlyn Nelson for the 40-38 lead.
The Lady Tigers pushed the ball up and slashed toward the basket before a kickout to a wide-open Maestretti set up the game-winner.
But the fun was actually just starting.
Lisa Christen grabbed an errant pass on the Panthers' next trip down the floor, forcing North Valleys to foul with 28 seconds left.
Maestretti missed the front end of the one-and-one, however, and the Panthers came back down to play for the final shot.
In a frantic stretch of about 10 seconds, the Panthers worked the ball down low to post player Helena Inskeep, but Waggoner fouled her before the shot with 1.4 seconds left on the clock.
The teams traded timeouts before setting up the final inbound.
Douglas' Sara Phillips provided pressure on the pass, forcing it out beyond the arc and Christen -- the shortest player on Douglas' roster at 5-3 -- got her hand on the shot as time ran out.
"Sara did a great job doing that jumping jack in front of the passer to get them to throw that pass out there and Lisa came up with her first career block," Christen said. "Those were two big plays."
Maestretti led the Tigers with 17 points and three 3-pointers, Waggoner had six, Dany Heidt had five, Katie Buffo had three and Allie Hughes, Taryn Williams, Gina Pfaffenberger, Sarah Hartley and Helen Fillmore each had two.
"Bridget really had a great ganme," Christen said. "Great floor game, great on defense, put up a lot of points for us. She was big for us."
Nelson led the Panthers with 12 points while Inskeep had 10 and Courtney Squires had six.
Douglas improved to 12-6 overall and 3-0 in Sierra League play.