"When you're down 21, that's a tough one to come back from," North Andrew head coach Chuck Fox said of his team's sectional win last Wednesday.
Despite trailing Orrick by three points in the final seconds, senior Brinsley Oliver kept the Cardinals afloat. She hit the game-tying 30-foot three-pointer as time expired to send the game to overtime. North Andrew went on to win 65-59.
They found themselves on the ropes again in the quarterfinal game against Mercer. Nicole Kost had an open look at the game-winning layup, and a chance to sink the Cardinals.
"When I was at the other end of the court, I was just turned around staring, hoping that wasn't going to be our last seconds on the court," senior Autumn Hughes said.
But the layup went off the rim and fell to the ground giving the Cards new life, again. North Andrew scored the first nine points in overtime against Mercer, and went on to beat them 64-56.
"I can't believe it's actually coming true," senior Danielle Chambers said of the Cardinals final four berth. "At the sectional game when we were down by three, I pretty much thought it was over. And at Mercer, when she was going for that layup, another time I thought it was over again. But I think there's a reason that we're here."
North Andrew's nearing that reason, now just one win away from the state championship game.
Sitting at 28-2 on the season, the Cardinals have had their share of big wins, but none quite like the last two that saw them come up with big efforts in overtime.
"I think we were definitely more focused knowing that, as seniors, this could be our last four minutes if we didn't play our best," Hughes said.
"We just played together, and played really well," Oliver said. "We've been bound to go to state."
Now with the program's first state semifinal appearance since 1998 on the horizon, North Andrew's ready for anything.
"With what we've been through in the sectional and the quarterfinal," Fox said, "whatever they throw at us, we're going to fight back. That's for sure."