BOSWELL - It wasn't meant to be for the Everett Lady Warriors Thursday.
They dropped a heartbreaking 37-36 District 5 Class AA semifinal playoff basketball game to North Star when a pair of foul shots fell short with 3 seconds left.
Senior Baylee Beegle missed both free throws - the second one bounced off the rim three times before falling to the court.
"We didn't really address it, because that was not the difference in the game," Everett coach Keith Moyer said of the disappointing finish.
"We were 2-of-7 in the fourth quarter. Everyone had a part in missing tonight. Unfortunately for Baylee, who I love like a daughter, it's a learning experience. My heart goes out to her, but this is not the last time she will be disappointed in her life. How she bounces back from this is important. She's a veteran and a leader, and she will be fine."
The second-seeded Lady Cougars held the third-seeded Lady Warriors to just one field goal in the final quarter. It came with less than 1 minute remaining in the game from sophomore center Kadie Morral while being fouled. She missed the free throw to tie the game with 49 seconds remaining.
North Star (16-7) had a chance to widen the lead, but sophomore Kayla Rice missed two separate one-and-one opportunities. Everett took a timeout with 8 seconds left to set up the potential game-winning play. Allison Snider's shot hit the rim, and the ensuing scrum for the rebound led to a North Star foul.
"I thought we were very evenly matched," Moyer said. "I thought we defended well. We just didn't make shots. That happens sometimes on the road in the playoffs with young kids. For a lot of them this was the first time in this gym. Shots that usually go in for us didn't."
The North Star Lady Cougars weren't just happy with making the playoffs. They wanted a win to prove that even though they were a young team, they could handle the pressure of a close game.
The win put North Star into Tuesday's 6 p.m. championship game at UPJ against Tussey Mountain.
"We tightened the defense up on them late in the game,'' North Star coach Randy Schrock said. "We dove after loose balls and played solid defense. If you play good defense, you're going to be in it at the end. We had some not very smart fouls at the end, but we got through it."
Morral finished with a game-high 17 points and eight rebounds for Everett, which finished 14-9.
EVERETT (36): Beegle 0 0-2 0, Mills 2 1-2 6, Brallier 2 0-0 5, Morral 6 5-8 17, Snider 2 2-2 6, Prather 1 0-0 2, McDonald 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13 8-14 36.
North Star (37): Zuchelli 0 0-0 0, Schrock 3 2-2 11, Carmean 1 0-0 2, Rice 3 1-4 8, Stanko 4 4-5 12, Berkebile 2 0-0 4, Novak 0 0-0 0, Joseph 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13 7-11 37.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Everett10 6 16 4 - 36
North Star9 8 14 6 - 37
3-point goals: Everett 2 (Mills, Brallier); North Star 4 (Schrock 3, Rice).
Records: Everett (14-9); North Star (16-7).
Officials: Craig Stahl, Tony Rullo, Rick Martin.