WARRENTON, Mo. -- A 14-point lead had evaporated, and Lutheran North had all of the momentum going into the fourth quarter after Sydney Dukes made a buzzer-bearing 3-pointer from the volleyball line to put the Crusaders ahead 32-29.
The Clark County girls basketball team wasn't fazed.
"They were still confident," Indians coach John Weaver said. "It bothered them. We knew they had a run in them. We didn't like that it was big as it was, but it's how you respond to it."
Lutheran North's lead eventually grew to six points, but the Indians clawed their way back to force overtime. Clark County then made seven of eight free throws in the final 1:38 to stun the Crusaders 50-48 in the Class 3 quarterfinals at Warrenton High School.
Clark County (28-1) advances to the state tournament for the first time since 1995 and will play at the John Q. Hammons Center in Springfield at 4:30 p.m. Friday against California (25-4), which defeated Hamilton-Penney 68-46 in a quarterfinal game in Lee's Summit.
Lutheran North (24-4), which placed third last year, used its athleticism and pressure to overwhelm Clark County when they met in last year's quarterfinal. The top six players from that team were back, but the Indians turned the tables on Saturday, frustrating the Crusaders with a 2-3 zone in the first half that ended with Clark County leading 22-12.
"I don't know why they didn't press in the first half, but we were glad they didn't," Weaver said. "We settled in and made some shots."
The Indians scored the first two baskets of the third quarter to lead 26-12, but the Crusaders finally unleashed their full-court man-to-man defense and dominated the third quarter. Raevyn Ferguson made a 3-pointer and converted a three-point play as part of a 17-2 run, and Dukes' shot was a punch to the gut.
Asked why his team didn't press in the first half, Lutheran North coach Chris Forrest said, "We really wanted to stay disciplined. We were worried that the officials were going to call it tight, and we were going to get in foul trouble."
Instead of letting the Crusaders' pressure continue to bother them, the Indians fought back. A switch to a man-to-man defense led to three turnovers and a missed one-and-one, and Aubry Boulware and Carissa Bevans made 3-pointers to tie the score at 37 with 4:07 to go.
The teams traded baskets, then neither scored for more than two minutes. Finally, Maggie Schutte, who hadn't made a shot all day, drained an 18-foot jumper from the top of the key with 54 seconds left on a play that wasn't designed for her.
"I was supposed to handle the ball, and Carissa was supposed to come off the double screen," Schutte said. "But she couldn't get it to me because she was handling the ball, so I just took her spot.
"I saw I was wide open. It was just another shot like I've taken every single day. I never thought twice about it."
"She executed the play perfectly," Bevans said. "I knew she could hit it."
Ferguson made two free throws with 34 seconds left to tie it. Both teams missed chances to win it. Bevans, Schutte and Brown all missed shots on the ensuing possession, and White missed the front end of a one-and-one with 13 seconds left.
Clark County struck first in overtime on a lob pass by Drenda Hess into Abby Brown into the post for a layup. Brown finished with 21 points, scoring seven baskets on lob passes. Her 16 rebounds helped the Indians secure a 38-21 edge on the boards.
"Sometimes, it was easy (to score on lobs)," Brown said. "When the guards give me good passes, it's pretty easy."
The Crusaders took the lead back on a free throw by Kaylynn Hayden and two from Adia Buford, but when defensive stalwart Jordyn White fouled out, Schutte put Clark County back in front with two free throws with 1:38 to go.
The Crusaders missed two shots to go back in front, and after Brown rebounded a missed shot by Ferguson with 22 seconds left, she made two free throws.
Lutheran North had the ball out of bounds next to its bench with 18.7 seconds left, but Dukes failed to get the ball in within five seconds.
Bevans split two free throws with 17.4 seconds left, and Hayden scored with 10.9 seconds left to get the Crusaders within 48-46. On the ensuing inbounds pass, Schutte overthrew Bevans, her intended target, but Hess recovered the loose ball in the lane and was fouled. She made two free throws to seal the victory.
"Last year, we were on our heels," Schutte said. "It was a wake-up call, and they took it to us. This year, we weren't afraid. We took it to them.
"I've dreamed about this since I was a little girl. It's the absolute best feeling you could ever experience."
Clark County 50, Lutheran North 48
LUTHERAN NORTH (24-4)
M. Buford 3-10 2-3 9, Dukes 2-6 0-0 6, Hayden 3-6 1-2 7, A. Buford 2-5 2-2 6, Ferguson 3-10 3-3 10, White 4-8 2-4 10, Earles 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-46 10-14 48.
CLARK COUNTY (28-1)
Hess 0-4 2-2 2, Schutte 1-7 4-4 6, Brown 8-11 5-6 21, Bevans 4-14 1-2 11, Boulware 3-6 0-0 8, Ross 0-0 0-0 0, Sedore 0-1 0-0 0, Howe 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 17-44 12-14 50.
Lutheran North 4 8 20 9 7 -- 48
Clark County 7 15 7 12 9 -- 50
3-point field goals -- Lutheran North 4-13 (Dukes 2-3, M. Buford 1-5, Ferguson 1-4, A. Buford 0-1), Clark County 4-10 (Bevans 2-3, Boulware 2-5, Schutte 0-2). Rebounds -- Clark County 38 (Brown 16), Lutheran North 21 (White 6). Turnovers -- Clark County 21, Lutheran North 14. Fouls -- Lutheran North 19, Clark County 15. Fouled out -- White. Officials -- Garrett Kelly, Bill Treaster, Ryan Eaton.