Longview sophomore Kiara Ross stepped to the free-throw line, and with two clutch shots, dismantled Robert E. Lee’s season.
The Lady Raiders led by one point with eight seconds left before Ross’ free throws gave the visitors a 49-48 victory Tuesday at Varsity Gymnasium.
The loss eliminates Lee (13-18, 3-7 in District 12-5A) from playoff contention with two games remaining while Longview (13-15, 5-5) clinched a playoff spot.
“I told the kids it would be the toughest ball game we’ve played all year,” Lee coach Lloyd Mahaffey said. “The fact is that Longview had been in our district for four years and not made the playoffs and we were the only team standing in their way tonight and they got it done.”
The Lady Raiders trailed 24-12 at halftime, but willed themselves back into contention courtesy of their full-court press. REL totaled 20 steals in the third and fourth periods, but missed free throws — Lee went 13 of 26 from the line — and missed layups enabled Longview to remain in front.
A jumper by senior Ciara Johnson with 33 seconds remaining tied the game at 46-46.
On the ensuing inbounds pass, Tree Brooks made the steal, but was then called for a travel. After a conference with all three officials, the call was changed to a foul, sending Brooks to the free-throw line.
She made 1 of 2 to give Lee a one point lead.
The Lady Raiders forced Longview into another turnover and they needed only to run out the clock, but this time it was Ross, who made a vital interception of a pass and was fouled with eight seconds remaining.
“She missed one earlier and was down on herself and I said get your head up because you are going to get another chance,” Longview coach Keith Smith said. “I didn’t know it would come down to that.”
The Lee crowd roar was deafening, but Ross did not miss.
Lee had one more chance, but Berjae Lewis’ long-range, game-winning attempt at the buzzer fell short.
Johnson paced the Lady Raiders with 18 points, seven rebounds and five steals. DaJah Thompson had eight points, five steals and four rebounds with Brooks totaling six points, four steals and six assists.
Longview’s Ross had nine points with teammate Ravian Chism scoring 15 points and pulling down seven rebounds.
The Lady Raiders go on the road Friday to district-leading Mesquite Horn.
District 12-5A Girls
Longview 48, Robert E. Lee 47
Longview 16 8 10 14 — 48
Robert E. Lee 10 2 19 16 — 47
LONGVIEW — Alisia Gray, 2; Kiambriya Sheridan, 6; Malea Wilson, 0; Maikayla Smith, 9; Halee Brewer, 2; Ravian Chism, 15; Maci Hopkins, 5; Kiara Ross, 9. FG: 17-41. FT: 10-16.
ROBERT E. LEE — Berjae Lewis, 4; Shreece Pryor, 2; Ciara Johnson, 18; Alex Thorne, 0; Tree Brooks, 6; DaJah Thompson, 8; Erin Bailey, 0; Dominique Thomas, 4; Emem David, 5. FG: 17-51. FT: 13-26.
THREE POINT GOALS — LV (4-7): Chism (2), Ross (2). REL (0-6): None.
RECORDS — Longview 13-15 (5-5); Robert E. Lee 13-18 (3-7).
NEXT UP — Lee at Mesquite Horn, 7 p.m. Friday.