It wasn't like the Couch Lady Indians didn't have several close-up shots at the hoop in the waning seconds of their matchup with the Van Buren Lady Bulldogs in the third round of the Big Spring Conference Tournament Jan. 27.
Matter of fact, Couch had plenty of point-blank looks at the hoop in the last minute of play.
The problem was, the Lady Indians just could not get any of those shots to drop and the fourth-seeded Lady Bulldogs took advantage of that to knock off top-seeded Couch 42-41, in heart-stopping fashion.
The last 1:37 of play saw no scoring taking place, but there was still plenty of action.
The homestanding Lady Bulldogs were clinging to a 42-41 lead when the Lady Indians racked up a huge steal and headed downcourt. Couch missed the layup attempt and Van Buren got the ball.
The Lady Indians managed to poke the ball free from Van Buren, but with 33 seconds left, Couch missed another point-blank layup that would have given the Lady Indians the lead.
With Van Buren in control of the ball and Couch with only three team fouls, the Lady Indians were forced to burn some time fouling to get the Lady Bulldogs into the bonus.
With 11 ticks left, Van Buren's Grace Betz missed the front end of a huge one-and-one. The Lady Indians quickly pushed the ball to the other end of the floor and promptly missed another close-up shot. But Van Buren knocked the ball out of bounds with two seconds left, giving Couch one more chance at victory.
The Lady Indians inbounded the ball under their basket, but a missed shot deep in the paint at the buzzer left the Lady Bulldogs holding onto a 42-41 upset of Couch.
Couch held an 8-4 lead early in the first, thanks to back-to-back triples from Cassie Roberts (six points).
But Van Buren fought back to claw on top 13-10 after one.
The Lady Bulldogs built this lead to 17-12 before Megan Hipps (eight points) and Crystal Britt (10 points) helped narrow the gap with back-to-back buckets midway into the second.
Still, the Lady Bulldogs took a 23-20 advantage to intermission.
Van Buren continued to add to this margin in the third and late in the frame, the Lady Bulldogs were in front by 10, 36-26.
Lizzie Nessling kept things from getting out of hand by scoring Couch's last five points of the third, chipping into the Lady Bulldog's lead with a bucket, followed by an old-fashioned 3-point play. Nessling led the Lady Indians with a team-high 15 points.
Van Buren was on top 38-31 after three, but Couch responded with the first three hoops of the fourth to edge within a single point, 38-37.
But although they had several chances late in the game, the Lady Indians just could not get over the hump and Van Buren held on for a thrilling one-point win.
Shanny Collins finished with two points for the Lady Indians.
Brittany Hager paced Van Buren with 13 points.