SARANAC LAKE - With the clock winding down and the game on the line, Saranac Lake's Megan Moody saw an opening as she drove toward the basket Wednesday against Moriah.
The senior tripped but still got off a shot, and her buzzer-beating attempt banked in off the glass and swooshed through the net to lift the Red Storm to a 39-38 victory over the visiting Vikings in Champlain Valley Athletic Conference girls basketball action.
It was Saranac Lake's first league triumph of the season and it couldn't have come in a more dramatic fashion after the Red Storm lost a fourth-quarter lead and then squandered away opportunities for a late comeback win by turning the ball over three times in the final 30 seconds. The Vikings ultimately suffered from poor foul shooting at the end.
Saranac Lake’s Megan Moody, second from the left, is hugged by elated teammates after she made a buzzer-beating field goal to lift the Red Storm to a 39-38 victory over Moriah Wednesday at home.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
With six seconds remaining, Moriah's Lauren Pelkey missed the front end of a one-and-one, then Saranac Lake's Nicole Viscardo grabbed the rebound and flipped it out on the wing to Moody. The point guard then dribbled the length of the court, headed toward the hoop, got around Vikings defender and stumbled while tossing up her short banker. After knocking down the winner, Moody was swarmed by her teammates while the stunned Vikings quietly walked toward their bench.
"I've made last-second shots before the end of the first half before, but I've never done this," Moody said. "When I got the ball, I saw an open lane, looked up at coach and he told me to go, and I just went.
"I was fortunate just to get the shot off," Moody said. "When I was going around their girl, I tripped and took the shot from my hip. I'm still all full of butterflies."
"Megan's our point guard. She's the player who we want with the ball in her hands," Saranac Lake coach Dave Zerrahn. "It was kind of a fitting finish for her because she turned the ball over just seconds before."
Senior Regan Kieffer led a balanced scoring effort by the Red Storm, finishing with a team-high 10 points that included a pair of 3-pointers in the first half.
Saranac Lake held a 20-17 edge at intermission, but the Vikings, mainly behind a game-high, 20-point performance from sophomore Madison Stahl, surged ahead 30-28 at the end of the third quarter.
The Red Storm came back to grab four-point leads on two occasions. A Kieffer layup with just under three minutes left gave Saranac Lake a 37-33 led, but the Vikings answered with two straight baskets, a 3-pointer from Lauren Cross and a short jumper by Stahl to go up 38-37.
Stahl's bucket came with 1:48 remaining in the game, and it turned out to be the last points the Vikings scored in the contest. During the closing seconds, Moriah failed to convert three times on the front end of one-and-ones, with their last miss proving the most costly as Viscardo hauled in the rebound and got the outlet pass to Moody for the winning bucket.
Moody finished with six points and was one of six Red Storm players who were in the scoring column. Jenny Ward and Viscardo each netted seven points for Saranac Lake, which improved to 1-3 in the CVAC and 2-4 overall. Cross was the next-highest scorer for the Vikings with seven points.
"We've been close in every game," Moody said. "We beat ourselves in the games we lost, and hopefully this win will give us some good energy. Everybody helped out in this win."
Saranac Lake's girls will be in action again tonight when they travel to Ticonderoga.
Saranac Lake 39, Moriah 38
Saranac Lake (39)
Ward 2-3-7, Moody 3-0-6, Kieffer 4-0-10, Orticelle 1-2-4, Viscardo 3-1-7, Ploof 0-0-0, Buckley 2-1-5. Totals: 15-7-39.
Wykes 0-0-0, Cross 2-1-7, Stahl 7-6-20, Slattery 1-1-3, C. Pelkey 1-0-3, L. Pelkey 1-1-3, Sprague 1-0-2. Totals: 13-9-38.
3-point goals: Moriah (3), Cross 2, C. Pelkey. Saranac Lake (2), Kieffer 2.