Sydney Elrod's free throw with five seconds remaining lifted West Side to a dramatic 35-34 win against Woodbury Grammar and into the championship game of the 2011 Cancer Tournament.
West Side will face East Side in the championship game at Woodbury Grammar School Saturday at 6:45 p.m. The girls consolation game pits Woodbury Grammar and Short Mountain at 4:15 p.m.
Kelsie Smith led West Side with 16 points and Elrod finished with 13. Emily Sissom led Woodbury with a game-high 23 points.
Elrod, who had struggled at the line, knocked down the biggest free throw when it mattered. She was 2-of-7 from the charity toss and had just missed the first of two free throws that could have given the Lady Eagles the lead prior to knocking down the game winner.
The pressure-packed free throw denied a Woodbury Grammar team that had staged a remarkable comeback to even have a chance.
West Side stormed to a 21-8 halftime lead with Elrod and Smith combining for 13 of the team's 15 second-quarter points. The Lady Eagles maintained a seemingly comfortable 30-18 lead going into the fourth quarter when Sissom took over the game. She scored eight of her 23 in the final quarter and Hannah Haley knocked down two big jumpers to eventually led the Lady Cubs into a 34-34 tie.
Shockingly, a highly-competitive Woodbury team was on the verge of reaching the championship game before Elrod connected for the free throw that seemed to feel more like a dagger.
Woodbury still had one possession for a potential game-winning shot. Jessica Elmy's shot from the top of the key fell just short at the buzzer.
Autumn King added four points and Alli Parton scored two in West Side's winning effort. Woodbury Grammar also received contributions from Haley (4), Madeline Franklin (2), Rachel Pate (2), Elmy (2) and Rebekah Higgins (1).
EAST SIDE 37
SHORT MTN 17
Upset-minded Short Mountain fell behind early and never could recover against Coach Ronnie Arnold's East Side Lady Tigers, who delivered a balanced attack in a 37-17 semifinal win.
Kelli Davis led all scorers with 12 points, followed by Haylee Mooneyham with nine and Katie Hoskins with eight. Caitlin Miller's 11 points led Short Mountain.
Top-seeded East Side came out like a contender and established the early 11-2 lead. The Lady Tigers allowed just two first-half field goals and led 21-6 at the break and were never really threatened during the second half.
Leeann Scott (4), Kelsey Wilson (2) and Courtney Brock (2) also scored for East Side. Addie Hale (4) and Miranda Byford (2) contributed for Short Mountain.