The shot dropped through the net with zeroes on the clock, sending Tuesday night's Pioneer Athletic Conference girls basketball game with Lansdale Catholic into overtime.
But the Winged Lions, whose only lead of the game came at 3-2, couldn't capitalize on that emotional boost, fell behind immediately in overtime and lost a 55-51 decision to the Crusaders in a rematch of last season's PAC-10 title game.
The loss was the first in the league for St. Pius (7-1, 10-2), which dropped a game behind Pottsgrove (8-0) heading into Thursday's meeting with the Falcons. The Crusaders (6-3, 9-4) snapped a two-game league losing streak.
"That team (St. Pius) was playing with a lot of confidence," said LC coach Maggie deMarteleire. "For them to tie us at the end of regulation and then for us to come back to win ... It showed a lot of character. I was very proud of the kids."
Lindsay Formica led the Crusaders with 16 points, 11 rebounds and four steals and her sister, Katelin, tossed in 12 points, including a big three-pointer in the fourth quarter. Freshman Michele Brokans scored eight of her 13 points in overtime while also contributing two assists, two steals and a blocked shot.
Reber led the Lions with 16 points, five rebounds, three steals, two assists and a block. Brianne Slizofski, who kept St. Pius alive until Reber's trey at the end of regulation, had a terrific game with 12 points, 12 rebounds, four steals and three assists. Ryan Mooney scored 12 points before fouling out with 26 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Kim Brady, who went scoreless, had nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block before fouling out with 2:35 to go in overtime.
The Crusaders threw the Lions out of kilter with junk defenses - a box-and-one on Reber and a triangle-and-two on Reber and Mooney.
"I thought we would get in foul trouble if we played straight man-to-man," said deMarteleire. "They drive so well."
The Lions found all the lanes to the basket blocked off.
"When someone plays a junk defense on you, as an individual you have to work harder," said Pius coach Joe Masleh. "You really have to work to get the ball. The first quarter, we did not work hard. I told the other people they had to step up. They did not. The kids have to realize they have to come to play start to finish. We did not play well the first quarter."
With deMarteleire yelling to her players to not allow Reber to touch the ball in the box or triangle, Reber (seven points) had trouble getting her hands on the ball through the first three periods.
"We're not used to seeing that," said Reber. "We came out rattled. As soon as we settled down and ran what we were supposed to run, we were fine."
With Reber leading the way, the Lions scrambled back into the game. Reber dropped in a runner to cut LC's lead to 43-40, then stole the inbounds pass and fed Mooney for a layup to make it 43-42.
Leanne Kovacs sank one of two free throws for a 44-42 LC lead. Brokans missed two free throws at :42, then converted one of two at :26 to extend the Crusaders' spread to 45-42.
Pius' Kristin Bone missed from 10 feet and LC's Kate Wojdula grabbed the rebound. But Reber tied up Lindsay Formica and the held ball went to the Lions with 10 seconds left.
The Lions passed the ball around the perimeter without getting a look at a three. Reber got the ball, dribbled to her right around the arc and shot on the run.
"I heard everyone screaming, 'Shot!'" said Reber. "I looked up at the clock and saw there were four seconds left. I took a couple more dribbles. When it went in, I was in shock."
But the Lions allowed Brokans to open overtime with a drive to the basket and a layup. Brokans put in another layup and canned four free throws to close the game.
"We didn't pick up the intensity (in overtime)," said Reber. "We were pumped when I hit that shot. Then we started to dull down again. We didn't pick up the intensity again. A lot of the reasons we lost tonight were what we did to ourselves, not what they did to us."