Up three with 40 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Alecia Bell had a chance to give Woodside's girls a four-point lead. But Bell missed the free throw, prompting her to sprint down the court to catch Warwick's Diana Gregory from behind and swat Gregory's shot into the hands of a waiting teammate.
On a night when the Wolverines (21-4) could not hit water if they fell out of a boat from the free-throw line, Bell was not going to let a district tournament title slip through her hands.
Woodside, playing on its home court, defeated Warwick 54-47 Friday in the Peninsula District tournament final. The win is the Wolverines' first girls basketball district tournament championship in school history, and it gave Mike Tallon his first district tournament title as Woodside's coach.
"I just had to stay calm," Bell said. "It was a little nerve-wracking, but I knew the game was on the line and I had to do what I could to get my team the win."
"(Adrienne) Motley made a couple of shots and some kids made some defensive plays for us," Tallon said. "And, thank God, at the end we made some free throws. But you have to give (Warwick) a lot of credit too. They made a lot of shots."
Woodside's Motley led all scorers with 27 points. Bell chipped in 13 points, but the Wolverines went 15-for-32 from the free-throw line.
LaQuanda Younger led Warwick (21-4) with 24 points, including 13 points in the third quarter.
"We gave it our all," Younger said. "I mean, you can't be disappointed. Of course we wanted to be the champs, but we played our all. We have no regrets."
Feeding off its home crowd, Woodside raced to an early 10-3 lead at the end of the first quarter, thanks to two 3-pointers from Motley. But Younger responded with two 3s of her own in the second quarter as she and Doneisha Eley (10 points) helped Warwick cut the deficit to 22-20 at the half.
The teams traded baskets until there was 4:32 remaining in the third quarter, when Younger went on a tear. The junior hit two free throws, then after a pair of free throws by Motley, Younger outscored Woodside 11-4 and hit a buzzer-beating layup to end the quarter.
"I think the last time we played these guys, we did a lot of standing around," Warwick coach Vanessa Starks said. "We like to move players around, move (Younger) around, and I thought we did that a lot better in this game."
Woodside cut into Warwick's 38-35 lead to start the fourth quarter with a layup from forward Jaelynn Pearson and eventually tied the game with 4:33 remaining on Motley's 3-pointer from the left baseline. After a Warwick intentional foul, Motley hit 1-of-2 free throws to put her team ahead.
But Younger hit an NBA-length 3-pointer to cut Woodside's lead to 48-46 with 2:50 remaining. After Motley and Younger each made a free throw, Bell had a chance to make it a two-possession game and seal the win with two free throws of her own.
Instead, Bell sealed the win in a different way.
"She is like that all the time: one speed," Tallon said of Bell. "We don't have to worry about her. She is the most consistent kid that we've got."
Warwick will open regional tournament play against Southeastern District No. 3 seed Grassfield at 6 p.m. Monday in Phoebus' gym. Woodside will play host to King's Fork at 7:30 Monday.
WOODSIDE 54, WARWICK 47
WARWICK (21-4): Younger 24, Eley 10, Williams 5, Huggins 5, Gregory 2, Pearson 1. Totals 15 13-21 47.
WOODSIDE (21-4): Motley 27, Bell 13, Dillard 7, Aia. Kelly 5, Ais. Kelly 2. Totals 17 15-32 54.
3-point field goals: Warwick 4 (Younger 4), Woodside 5 (Motley 3, Bell 2).Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times