Moments after her team's 44-39 overtime loss to host Seton Keough, St. Mary's Randall Goldsborough stood trying to search the gymnasium for answers.
The red-haired junior had a hard time accepting how her team had let the last league game of the season slip away.
"It must be something wrong with this gym," said Goldsborough, whose 20-point effort included five three-point shots. "We always seem to lose here."
The Saints led, 34-31, with 23 seconds left in regulation when a three-pointer by Seton Keough's Michelle Pasta (nine points) found its mark, sending the game into overtime.
"I told (Kelly Hines, Melissa Cuneo and Michelle Pasta) that whoever gets it, drive the ball down and take the three-point shot," said Seton Keough coach Trish Cook. "Thank God it went in."
In overtime, the Gators handled the Saints, sprinting ahead with a 6-0 run and holding on for the victory.
With the exception of a 2-0 first-quarter lead, Seton Keough trailed until a 10-1 third-quarter run turned a 19-15 deficit into a 23-20 Gators' lead. St. Mary's starter Heather Greenlee fouledout and Goldsborough did not score in the third period.
The teams entered the fourth quarter tied at 25-25. Goldsborough tried to spark her squad with her fourth three-pointer for a 28-25 lead, but the Gators got balanced scoring down the stretch from Hines (eight points)and Colleen Kelly and Chris Politz (six each).
"It's a frustrating loss," said St. Mary's coach Carmine Blades, whose Saints finished 17-6 overall, 4-4 against the Catholic League. "We lost the game at the foul line (on 12-of-21 shooting) and in losing rebounds."
When Goldsborough was fouled with 29 seconds left in regulation and her squad ahead, 33-31, she had a chance to make it tougher for the Gators (14-4, 5-2).
However, she missed the back end of her one-and-one, setting up Pasta's game-saving shot.
Each team shot miserably in the first half. The Saints were 4-for-27 from the field compared to a dismal 6-for-31 for the Gators.
Goldsborough accounted for all of the Saints' field goals, including a hat trick of three-point shots that lifted St. Mary's to a shaky 17-13 lead at halftime.
She scored eight of her squad's 10 first-quarter points -- including a pair of three-pointers -- for a 10-6 lead heading into the second period.
But the first quarter is also the one that did the most damage to Goldsborough's support system. Greenlee had to leave the game with two minutes left in the first quarter. The 5-10 junior had been giving the Gators' 6-1 Politz (six points, 10 rebounds) trouble on the inside and after she left, the Saints played sporadically under the boards.
"Greenlee is an excellent defensive player and a good rebounder for us," said Blades. "But that didn't lose the game for us. We've beena poor shooting team for the past few games."
Seton Keough's Colleen Kelly opened the second quarter with a bucket to tie the game at 10-10, but the Saints answered with a 6-0 run for a 16-10 lead with four minutes to go in the half.
The Saints' Amelia Mikula sank two free throws to make it 12-10 before Goldsborough sank her third three-pointer.
Politz scored from underneath to pull the Gators to within 16-13 with 1:45 remaining, but the Saints' Anne Donovan (five points, seven rebounds) made the foul shot after being fouled with no time remaining.
The Saints now will try to focus on the Catholic League tournament, which starts next Thursday with all 12 teams advancing. St. Mary's will finish at least third in the league and receive a first-round bye -- as do the top four teams.
The Gators now need a victory over Spalding Tuesday to win the league championship and clinch a berth in the March 3 Metro Classic against the winner of today's City-Wide championship between Western and Walbrook .
Spalding has beaten the Saints twice and lost a close decision to Seton Keough. The Cavaliers play Mercy today. Victories by the Cavaliers in their last two games would give them the league title.