ALBANY -- Take that, Berrien.
That's the feeling Albany High School girls basketball fans got after watching their beloved Squaws upset Berrien, 43-42, in the first round of the Region 1-AA tournament on a game-winning steal and layup 2.5 seconds remaining by Elisa Hollinger, who capped off a wild fourth-quarter comeback.
"We really won it as a team," said Hollinger, who scored eight of her nine points with four minutes remaining in the game. "But I pulled through at the end."
Briana Williams poured in 13 points to lead Albany.
"I don't how it happened honestly," said Albany (14-16) coach Telly Turner, whose team dropped both games against Berrien in the regular season. "But one thing I do believe is that it is hard to beat a team three times."
After a tightly-contested first half, Albany found itself trailing by a point (19-18) but in the second half Albany saw its deficit grow to as many as five (36-31) with 3:01 left in the game.
With under a minute remaining in the game -- and after a Berrien miss -- Williams drove the length of the floor for a layup that pulled her team within a point (42-41) with 37.2 left, setting up Hollinger's heroics.
After AHS used its foul to give, Berrien had the ball out of bounds near midcourt and successfully inbounded to Adurianna Bennett, who was immediately surrounded by Albany defenders who forced her to throw a pass that was picked off by Hollinger and at half court and taken in for the winning score.
With the win, the Albany girls automatically qualify for state but before that comes they will compete in the semifinals of the region 1-AA tournament Thursday at No. 1 Thomasville at 7 p.m.
EARLY LOSES IN SECOND ROUND, 50-34, to COOK:
The Lady Bobcats lost to the Lady Hornets after winning the play-in game Monday vs. Fitzgerald, although no final stats were available at press time.
The Lady Bobcats' season ends at 5-13.