Aaliyah Pauling spent more time on the bench in foul trouble than on the court Friday.
The time the Mead senior did play, though, was just enough as it turned out.
Pauling hit a 3-point shot at the buzzer to lift the visiting Panthers to a 51-50 win over the Mt. Spokane Wildcats in an entertaining Greater Spokane League girls basketball game played before a vocal crowd estimated at 1,300.
With 2.2 seconds remaining, Maddie Lee made an inbounds pass to Pauling, who came around a screen and gathered herself as two defenders came at her. She made a pump fake and took one dribble before launching a shot from the right angle that hit nothing but net.
Mead coach Quantae Anderson drew up the play during a timeout moments earlier.
“Right before that timeout I said ‘are you ready to win the game for us and she said yeah’,” Anderson said. “We explained to her that she had enough time to take a dribble and shoot.”
Pauling wanted the final shot.
“I saw that the two defenders were coming at me,” Pauling said. “When I take a dribble it gets me in rhythm in with my shot.”
Mt. Spokane coach David Pratt applauded Pauling.
“Aaliyah hit an unbelievable shot and we did our job,” Pratt said. “Our defender was in there and (Pauling) hit one over her. You’ve got to give her some love, some credit for that.”
Mead improved to 9-6 overall and remained two games behind third-place Gonzaga Prep at 9-6 with a week left in the regular season.
Mt. Spokane suffered just its second defeat, slipping to 15-2 overall. The league setback puts the Wildcats two games behind leader Central Valley.
“It’s difficult to swallow but Mead had a great game plan and they played well,” Pratt said. “The atmosphere, the amount of fans who were in it; it was unbelievable to see kids making tough play after tough play on both sides.”
It was a key win for Mead.
“It’s the biggest win of the year,” Anderson said. “We’ve been talking about getting better every game. This is the game that we needed.”
There were numerous terrific moments. Jaidyn Lyman, who had a season high 27 points for Mt. Spokane, put the Wildcats ahead at 49-48 when she got around a nice screen from Averi Adams and hit a pull up 6-footer in the key with 35 seconds to go.
After a missed shot by the Panthers, Mt. Spokane’s Miahna Waters was fouled with 6.9 seconds remaining. She made the front end of a one-and-one for a 50-48 lead. Mead rebounded the miss on the second shot and took a timeout at midcourt to set up the last shot.
Waters had 16 rebounds and five steals. Alyse Jackson led Mead with 11 points, Pauling had 10 and Allison Russell was pivotal with nine to go with nine rebounds.
Lewis and Clark 62, Gonzaga Prep 55: Jacinta Buckley led the visiting Tigers (9-8, 9-6) with 18 points and Peyton Howard had 11 as LC held off a furious Bullpup (10-7, 10-5) rally.
The Tigers led 38-21 at halftime. They remain in a three-way tie for fourth, a game behind G-Prep. Olivia Mayer led G-Prep with 24 points and 13 rebounds and Mia Scelfo had 16 points.
North Central 44, Ferris 35: Sunny Ellenwood had 18 points and 11 rebounds and the visiting Indians (6-11, 5-10) downed the Saxons (2-15, 2-13). NC led 10-0 after the first quarter. Quincy McDeid added 10 points for NC. Katie Uphus had nine for Ferris.
Central Valley 71, Rogers 28: Lexie Hull scored 29 points, had 10 rebounds and eight steals to lead the Bears (17-0, 15-0) past the visiting Pirates (4-13, 3-12).
The Bears are now the lone unbeaten 4A team in the state but managed to drop two slots in the RPI to sixth. Previous RPI lead Sunnyside (15-1) lost 48-45 at Moses Lake.
Atyzha Upton and Akon Aleu each had nine points for Rogers.
University 62, Shadle Park 14: The Titans (10-7, 9-6) opened a 27-12 lead by halftime and held the Highlanders (0-16, 0-15) to two points the final two quarters.
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