MINNEAPOLIS -- It was a shot Flecia Foster has practiced under starlight, in the heat of the summer and in the Pequot Lakes High School gym.
She had run the scenario through her mind more than 1,000 times so when Foster was faced with making the game-winning shot in the Class 2A quarterfinals Thursday she didn't even think about it.
"To be honest there was nothing going through my mind," said Foster. "I had no idea how much time was left. We were running a play that we had run before. We practice it every day in practice and I guess that's why you play basketball -- for shots like that."
With less than 12.9 seconds remaining, Foster's soft jumper tickled the twine and lifted the fifth-ranked Patriots to a 45-44 victory over the Pipestone Area Arrows at Williams Arena.
"We had Flecia pick somebody and then she came off a double pick," said Pequot coach Bob Nelson. "After she got the ball she just made a nice move to get down, get open and hit the shot for us."
It didn't look good for the Patriots who trailed 44-41 with 57 seconds left.
But Foster found her way to the foul line and sank two free throws, making it 44-43 with 47 seconds left.
A double team on the Arrows' Nagris Kabiri caused a traveling call, giving Pequot the ball with 28 seconds left. This time Foster's jumper didn't connect and Pipestone had the ball with 17 seconds on the clock.
But again, Pequot's defense caused a turnover on the inbound pass. That set up Foster's final heroics.
"I can't even explain how many times I've practiced that moment," said Foster. "That's what you watch on television and you talk about it the next day. I never thought that it would be me, but it's awesome. It's a great feeling."
Foster led the Patriots with 22 points, 11 in each half. Teresa Parker added 14 points despite being double-teamed all game.
Patriots 45, Pipestone Area 44
The key: Flecia Foster's jump shot with about 12 seconds left lifted Pequot Lakes.
Overall: PL 30-1, PA 19-10
Next: Class 2A state semifinals vs. Minnesota Valley Lutheran, 9 p.m. Friday at Target Center
"It's tough when you have someone in front of you and then behind you," said Nelson. "The few times we did get it in there she was doing a good job of getting shots off."
Parker added five rebounds and five blocked shots. She was 6-of-11 from the field.
"It was almost impossible to get her the ball," said Foster. "Granted, she is almost 6-foot-2 and taller than everyone else. I think we need to work on lofting the ball into her. We would bullet it into her and she couldn't grab it. It was hard getting her the ball, but she went strong."
In a game Pequot thought it would control, the Arrows wouldn't fade. Pequot's largest lead was 22-18 in the second half. After the first quarter the teams were tied. At halftime Pequot led 24-22. Both teams scored nine points in the third quarter.
"Pipestone was just really working hard," said Nelson. "I think they were shooting the ball well from outside and hitting some threes and we just weren't getting out to them like we should have been."
The teams traded leads 14 times and were tied 11 times, but in the end it was Pequot with the lead.
"This feels better than what I expected," said Foster. "Way better. We didn't play our best game, but with endings like that, how can you not be happy?"
Pequot Lakes 13 11 9 12 -- 45
Pipestone Area 13 9 9 13 -- 44
Flecia Foster 22, Chelsa Schwegel 1, Teresa Parker 14, Kristin Willer 5, Mandie Roggenkamp 3. FG 16-39 (41 percent), FT 12-19 (63.2 percent). Three-point baskets: 1-4 (Roggenkamp).
Nargis Kabiri 20, Ashley Weatherly 13, Steph Kocourek 4 , Paige Pals 4, Elyse Cooper 1, Larissa Veldhuizen 2. FG 14-47 (29.8 percent), FT 11-17 ( 64.7 percent). Three-point baskets: 5-15 (Weatherly 3, Kabiri 2).
Rebounds -- PL 26 (Willer 9, Parker 5), PA 37. Assists -- PL 6 (Schwegel 4), PA 4. Turnovers -- PL 12, PA 13. Steals -- PL 6 (Foster 4), PA 6. Blocks -- PL 5 (Parker 5), PA 3.
jeremy millsop can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5856.
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