Standing at the free-throw line with 6.8 seconds remaining and a tie game, Seiling senior Kelsie Pethoud said a small prayer.
Then she made the free throw, redeeming herself and clinching a wild 35-34 victory for the seventh-ranked Wildcats in the Class A semifinals over No. 4 Frontier at State Fair Arena.
“I can’t even describe it,” Pethoud said. “That game-winning shot meant nothing if we hadn’t made the ones before.
“Honestly, I just said a little prayer. He’s there for you. I had faith that first one was going in.”
Seiling meets Pond Creek-Hunter at 5:30 p.m. Saturday for the championship. The Wildcats last won a title in 1994.
Pethoud’s turnover with 52 seconds remaining in a tie ballgame triggered an unforgettable chain of events.
Frontier’s Alivia Molina scored on a layup off the turnover, taking a 34-32 lead. Seiling’s Morgan Marks then hit a free throw with 28.3 seconds remaining.
The Wildcats were then forced to foul and hope for a break – and they got it.
Frontier’s Thristian Young was charged with a technical foul before an inbounds play with just 11.8 seconds remaining when she was tangled with a Seiling player and landed an elbow.
Seiling’s Taylor Hedrick then hit 1 of 2 free throws to tie the game, setting up Pethoud’s redemption.
“This game’s a crazy thing,” Seiling coach Brady Hamar said. “I think that’s part of the game. Every team always says when they win one you have to have one game somewhere along the line you catch a break. Maybe that was ours.”
Seiling (23-5) was also whistled for a technical foul in the third when Kaci Livingston slammed the ball down in anger, resulting in Goodman making two free throws to take a 22-21 lead and begin a 10-2 run that looked to turn the game.
Hamar, though, was happy to see that be erased.
“I felt like we were owed that from our silly one in the third quarter, too,” he said. “It kind of changed the game and the momentum. It was goofy on our part, but we got a break back.”
Hedrick finished with 18 points for the Wildcats, while Pethoud finished with four.
Frontier (25-5) was led by Goodman’s 18 points and 10 rebounds.