Jeff Hurndon Photography / Mundy’s Mill’s Danetra Jackson tried to recover on defense but Union Grove’s Ashlyn Fluker was too open for a 3-pointer to beat the Lady Tigers at the buzzer.
McDONOUGH — Ashlyn Fluker thought her three-point shot wasn’t going to be strong enough. She was so worried about it clanking off the rim that she eased up hoping to find just the right touch to cap Union Grove’s fourth-quarter comeback. But as the shot left her hand with a little over four seconds on the clock, it didn’t feel quite right.
“I thought ... that it was going to be an air ball,” Fluker said.
She was wrong.
Fluker’s shot was true and dramatic, swishing through the net as the buzzer sounded to give Union Grove a thrilling 48-47 victory at home against Mundy’s Mill in a Region 4-AAAAA, Div. A game on Friday.
Union Grove (8-10, 3-4) ran the set play exactly as Lady Wolverines coach Dock Gammage drew it up during a timeout with 9.7 seconds left. Gammage decided to run a play for Fluker but have her inbound the ball from midcourt. When Fluker (11 points) inbound the ball to Koi Kizzie, she ran unguarded down the sideline behind Kizzie.
Kizzie gave it back to Fluker with a quick behind-the-back pass.
Fluker did the rest.
“They ran that perfect,” Gammage said. “Off the cuff. That’s not a play we’ve had. Usually my shooter is the one who’s out there to catch and shoot. I knew [Mundy’s Mill coach Tu Willingham] was going to be playing that, so I brought my shooter in.”
“That last play coach drew up was a heck of a play,” Willingham said. “She nailed it. When it left her hands, I knew it was good.”
Mundy’s Mill (9-7, 4-4) had been in control of the game since Moe Dyer (16 points) scored the first points of the second quarter to give the Lady Tigers a 12-11 lead. Their lead grew to as much as eight points in the fourth quarter during a three-minute stretch where Union Grove went scoreless.
Megan Betsa finally ended the scoring drought with a short jumper to make it 47-40 with about two minutes left. Carolyn Byl made a free throw. Kizzie hit a jumper. Union Grove started to force turnovers on defense.
But the real break for Union Grove wasn’t what the Lady Wolverines did. It was what Mundy’s Mill shouldn’t have done.
With the clock winding down and players on the court wrestling for a loose rebound, a Mundy’s Mill player called a timeout. The Lady Tigers didn’t have anymore, an automatic technical foul and two foul shots for Union Grove.
“Game-changer,” Gammage said. “It was just one of those things. Sometimes those things happen.”
Union Grove’s Treva Hickey (17 points) made both ensuing free throws to cut Mundy’s Mill’s lead to 47-45 and set up Fluker’s buzzer-beating heroics.
“They’re young. It’s a close game situation,” Willingham said. “Chris Webber did it in the national championship game. It’s just a mistake. They’re trying to win. They’re playing hard.”