With his star on the free-throw line with two seconds left, Carl Albert coach Tim Price had no doubt his team would have the lead.
He just needed to decide if he's rather be up by one or two.
Price was right and Gioya Carter came up big at the end, lifting the Titans to a 35-34 win over Lawton MacArthur at Edmond North to advance to next week's Class 5A state tournament.
Carter made the first one-and-one free throw after being fouled driving the lane, missed the second intentionally then stole the ball just before time expired to clinch the win.
“I didn't even want them to have a chance at a shot,” Carter said.
With Jordan Gilbert banged up but playing, Carter had to take the game over even more than she normally does.
It wasn't easy, though.
Lawton MacArthur center Alaysia Vann was dominant at times inside and the Highlanders led for most of the game.
After three, the Titans were down 30-24.
But Carl Albert turned things up defensively and held the ball for most of the last three minutes before MacArthur started fouling in the final 35 seconds.
Three quick fouls put the Highlanders at six for the half but on the next in-bounds, Carter drove the lane and picked up the foul that sent her to the line for the potential game-winner.
Carter finished with 22 points.
Vann led MacArthur with 19 points.
The Titans are in the state tournament for the ninth consecutive game, the longest girls streak in the state.
“This is one of the sweetest,” Price said. “To take this group of girls to state, I'm very, very happy.”
MEMORIAL BACK IN STATE
Two nights after falling to Norman North, Edmond Memorial lifted itself into the state tournament for the fourth consecutive season with a 53-47 win over Choctaw.
The Bulldogs were coming off a runner-up finish coming into the season but brought back a team that was largely inexperienced.
But Memorial improved steadily throughout the season, finishing strong.
Memorial nearly clinched a berth Thursday night before falling to Norman North in overtime.
Saturday, though, Memorial took control by outscoring the Yellowjackets 17-10 in the second quarter and then held on for the win.
Jenny Roy led Memorial with 18 while Andee Decker added 13 and Kaleigh Troxell added 10.
Addie Vernon had 17 and Kylee Hicks added 13 for Choctaw.
HAWKINS LIFTS SOUTHMOORE TO STATE
Not that it's had many years to try, but relative newcomer Southmoore can now shed the label of being the only Class 6A or 5A team to never advance to the state tournament.
Two nights after falling in their initial chance to qualify, the Class 6A No. 4 SaberCats took advantage of their second chance by beating Putnam City 57-48 at Choctaw.
Southmoore jumped on the Pirates early, outscoring them 17-8 in the first and taking a 33-21 lead into the break.
Putnam City pulled within four, 43-39, heading into the fourth quarter but Southmoore held the Pirates off down the stretch to earn the tournament berth.
Serithia Hawkins scored 22 to lead Southmoore. Kyra Gilbert added 16 and Kayla Tucker 12.
Kyra Johnston led Putnam City with 15 points while Jayden Oliver and LaShabra Plunkett scored 11 each.
HERITAGE HALL STAYS ALIVE
With less than a minute remaining in Saturday's Class 4A area consolation game against Elk City, Heritage Hall's season looked all but over.
But the Chargers, down six in the final minute, didn't give up, tying the game on a pair of quick 3-pointers, then Meredith Zerby hit a game-winner with two seconds remaining to lift Heritage Hall to a 33-31 win over Elk City at Yukon.
The basket was Zerby's only two points of the game.
Erika Wakefield led the Chargers with 19, battling through foul trouble in the second half.
Heritage Hall will play Mount St. Mary's at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Yukon for a state tournament berth.
Mount St. Mary's lost to Weatherford, 38-35, in the area final Saturday night.