Kaitlyn Berry’s 3-pointer did everything but go in.
Trailing by three with five seconds to go, Forsyth in-bounded the ball to Berry near midcourt. She broke away from her defender and had clear space to the 3-point line.
Berry pulled up and got off a clean shot, but the ball rolled in and out as time expired in a 45-42 road loss to Billings on Thursday night.
“I thought it was in. I already had my fist ready to fist pump,” said Forsyth coach Jim Voliva.
Billings held a 42-38 lead with two minutes to go before a back-and-forth sequence of turnovers left the game up for grabs in the final minute.
Berry’s steal and layup got Forsyth within 42-40 with 41.5 seconds left on the clock. Stephanie Bos then made one of two free throws to increase Billings’ lead to 43-40.
Kirsten Kolb’s jumper for Forsyth closed the margin to 43-42 with 21 seconds remaining.
Billings would follow by missing the front end of a one and one free throw, but the Lady Panthers turned the ball over before crossing halfcourt.
After two free throws from Billings’ Olivia Fabro made it 45-42 with 12 seconds to go, the Lady Panthers again turned the ball over.
But with five seconds remaining, Forsyth stole the Billings in-bounds pass and called timeout to set up the final shot for Berry.
“We did so many things throughout the game that caused us to get to that point,” Voliva said. “That’s what I told them, ‘What about the one time I didn’t block out?’ Or, ‘What about the one time I didn’t contest the (Stephanie) Bos girl, who’s a great shooter?’
“Those are the type of things we have to improve on.”
After a shaky start, Bos got going in the fourth quarter and finished with a game-high 16 points.
“She took a couple of forced shots but in the second half, she got back to what she’s good at – which is in the mid-range game,” said Billings coach Chris Gold. “That was big. And I’m happy for her because she’s been struggling shooting the ball, so hopefully that gets her going here.”
Despite Billings holding the lead for the final three minutes, the lead still changed hands seven times in the fourth quarter.
Gold said the Lady Wildcats focused much of their defensive attention on Berry, who led Forsyth with 12 points.
“We’re limited offensively but we’ve been stepping up and doing a good job on the defensive end,” Gold said. “I thought (sophomore guard Sierra) Wilson did a great job on Berry. We keyed on her and did a pretty good job.”
Forsyth dropped to 2-8 overall and 1-3 in the SWCL, with a trip to Lutie ahead on Friday night followed by a home tilt against Hollister on Monday. Billings improved to 4-9, 1-1 and hosts Sparta on Monday night.
Forsyth 5 16 7 14 --- 42
Billings 12 7 10 16 --- 45
Forsyth – Kaitlyn Berry 12, Katie Deal 9, Rachel Kiest 7, Alex Ellison 7, Kirsten Kolb 4, Amber Pfitzner 2, Sam Retell 1
Billings – Stephanie Bos 16, Andrea Begley 8, Maci Saxe 8, Sierra Wilson 6, Olivia Fabro 5, Shondra Davis 2