EAST ROCKHILL >> All evening long, Ashley Forker had been relentless going to the hoop, but with the game on the line and the seconds ticking down, she saw Liz Hoffman spring wide open.
“I thought she was taking it (to the basket) to be honest,” Hoffman said with a smile afterwards, still out of breath from the final, frantic moments. “She did it just two nights ago to send it to overtime (in the win over Christopher Dock). I get the pass and I just hope it goes in. I hope it goes in.”
Hoffman drove, shot and scored with just 1.6 seconds to go, Phil-Mont’s desperation shot would fall short, and Faith held on for a come-from-behind 41-40 victory over the Falcons in a Bicentennial Athletic League Semifinal Thursday night at Faith.
The win advanced the Lions to Saturday’s Final at Holy Family University, where they will face either New Hope Solebury or Lower Moreland at 1 p.m.
Phil-Mont led for the majority of the evening, was up by as many as seven in the final quarter, but Forker and Faith kept battling back.
The junior guard came up with a loose ball and raced down court for the layup, bringing the Lions (20-4) within 38-37 with 1:48 to play.
Kayla Griffin went up high with the ensuing inbounds pass, finding the outstretched arms of heavily-guarded Keyen Green, who would drive and score the last two of her game-high 21 points, extending the margin to three.
Forker’s underhanded layup would make it a one-point game again, with 28 seconds to go. Phil-Mont (18-6) would work the ball around until Tracey Goodman was fouled with just six seconds left on the clock.
Goodman’s free-throw attempt bounced high off the rim and Forker grabbed the rebound and took off.
“I saw (a Phil-Mont defender) down low and it looked like she was going to take the charge,” Forker said. “I said ‘I am not letting this happen,’ and then I saw Liz. Liz had been coming through in the clutch the entire game.
“I saw her and I said, ‘she’s got it. She’s got it.”
Forker led the way with 17 points, Hoffman added 14, and the Faith defense collectively forced 19 turnovers in what could be a preview of the District One Class A Final.
“What we have to do against them all the time is make them earn every inch of real estate they can get, because if they get the ball inside, we’re helpless,” Faith coach David Forker said, “because they are so strong, so good and so dominant there. They’re not just tall, they’re amazing athletes.”
Green’s inside play had Phil-Mont off to a strong start, as she scored seven first-quarter points to push the Falcons to an 11-5 lead at the end of one.
Faith would close to within a point at the break but then Phil-Mont closed out the third with a half-court shot by Goodman, giving the Falcons a six-point lead heading into the final quarter.
But Faith found a way in the fourth.
“They’re a good team. They don’t go away,” Phil-Mont coach Bill DeHeer said. “It’s tough to lose to a team three times — you got six losses all season and three of them are to the same team.
“We couldn’t finish out, and I’m still waiting for us to play at our full potential. We’ll hope something like this lights the fire in them even more, to know what it takes in those moments.”