DES PLAINES | Seton Academy's Brittany Mitchell came through with the game in her hands.
The senior's fifth successful 3-pointer of the night broke a tie with 1.1 seconds left on the clock, earning the Sting a 45-42 Class 1A sectional final victory over Westminster Christian at Willows Academy. It's their first supersectional berth since 1998.
"I was nervous," Mitchell said of taking the shot. "It felt good, like the rest of them. I'm just happy it went in."
It was a perfect shot, coming from the right side of the court, and with a hand in her face. When it fell through and the clock ran out, Seton had captured its 23rd win of the season, against eight losses. Three more wins, and they would collect the state Class 1A title.
It came about after what coach Kevin Green called an error on his part. He thought Seton led by three after Ebony Bailey's conventional 3-point play with 15.9 seconds to play, one triggered by a lovely scoop shot from the right side of the lane, and finished with a free throw. But Seton's lead was only 42-40.
That's why Westminster's McKalia Hays had a free lane to a shot jumper with nine seconds to play, creating the game's fourth tie. But Seton came down court quickly, and Mitchell, momentarily open, didn't miss.
"Brittany saved me today," said Green, who has made few rookie mistakes this season.
"It's my last year," said Mitchell, whose 20-point explosion led all scorers. "I didn't expect anything, didn't expect to make it this far."
Mitchell awakened Seton in the third quarter after the Sting slumped in the second quarter. Westminster, a methodical group whose center, Porsche Griggs, is playing on a partially torn ACL in her left leg, led 24-19 at the half. Seton had not trailed at any juncture of the playoffs to that point.
Then Mitchell went on a tear, scoring 12 points in the third, in part by making three of the five three-pointers she attempted.
"It was my team," Mitchell said. "I had to take over. I'm a senior and a captain."
Seton plays Aquin of Freeport in Monday's supersectional at DeKalb High School, with the winner advancing to Friday's state semifinal game.
Seton's Tiffany Ellis advanced to the next round of the Three Point Showdown, hitting 5-of-10 shots in a playoff round after making 5-of-15 in the regulation competition.