BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- Kolby McClelland hadn't taken shot since the second quarter, but when Central-Southeastern coach Matt Long asked during a timeout who wanted the ball with 11 seconds to play in overtime, she and Laney Lantz were the first ones to raise their hand.
And when the inbounds pass went to McClelland 30 feet from the basket, Long knew his team was in good hands.
McClelland dribbled past Rockford Lutheran's Madison Davis and went in for the game-winning layup with 4.6 seconds to play as the Lady Panthers won 48-46 to claim the championship in the small school girls bracket at the 38th annual State Farm Holiday Classic.
"I looked up at the clock, and I thought, ‘There aren't a lot of seconds left, and I don't know where (Lantz is) at," McClelland said. "So I just took it and drove."
"There's a reason why she's an all-stater," Long said. "She's a competitor.
"Kolby was the second option. We figured they would deny Laney, and if they did, it would create space for Kolby. We told her if that happens, just rip it and get to the rim."
A half-court heave by Davis at the buzzer was not close.
"We came in here pretending it was an early state tournament," Long said. "It was like four postseason games -- a regional championship, a sectional, a sectional championship and a super-sectional. I think we showed that come tournament time, we're going to be a tough out."
Central-Southeastern (13-1) led most of the first half, and Lantz scored the first basket of the second half to put the Lady Panthers ahead 29-22.
Rockford Lutheran, ranked No. 8 in Class 3A, then scored the next 13 points over a span of 5:42. Offensive rebound baskets by Davis and Hannah Malcomson capped the run.
The Crusaders led 39-31 after a free throw by Olivia Cattage with 7:40 to play in the game, but the Lady Panthers didn't allow a field goal in the game's last 12 minutes.
Two free throws by Zakila Wiskirchen got C-SE within 40-37 with 2:04 to play, and poor free throw shooting hurt the Crusaders late in the game. They made just three of eight, including two misses by Kailyn Strawbridge with 21 seconds left. Lantz grabbed the rebound off the second miss and went coast to coast to score, putting C-SE within 42-41 with 12.5 seconds left.
Davis was then fouled, and she made the first of two free throws with 9.8 seconds to play. The second free throw was waved off, however, when the Crusaders coaches told two players to leave their spots along the free-throw lane after the official had already given Davis the ball.
Lantz drove to the basket again and was fouled with 3.7 seconds to play. She made the first, and after a Lutheran timeout, she made the second to force overtime.
Lantz finished with 24 points, with most of them coming on drives to the basket.
"Our main focus was to attack," she said. "Everyone else was attacking, but it just happened to be me a lot of the time."
Lantz put back her own missed shot to start the overtime period, but Ashlei Lopez made three of four free throws to put Lutheran ahead with 2:47 remaining. Lantz hit a free throw with 2:32 to go to tie the score.
Neither team scored on their next two possessions, and with 37 seconds to play, Strawbridge missed a layup, and Lantz forced a held ball on the rebound, with C-SE getting possession.
"I kept telling everybody on the court, ‘We've had games like this before. Don't give up,'" McClelland said.
The gold ball given to the championship team is the first for a team coached by Long since he started bringing his teams to this tournament 22 years ago.
"(Holding it) was nice," McClelland said. "I've never had one before."
Long said he's been waiting for his veteran team to play at this level all season. Lantz agreed.
"I think we grew up a ton this week," she said.
Central-Southeastern 48, Rockford Lutheran 46
Lee 1-1 0-2 2, Vance 1-3 0-0 3, McClelland 3-8 0-0 6, Hildebrand 5-11 1-3 11, Lantz 8-19 7-8 24, Wiskirchen 0-4 2-2 2. Totals 18-46 10-15 48.
ROCKFORD LUTHERAN (10-3)
Strawbridge 2-8 0-1 4, Malcomson 1-2 0-0 2, Davis 4-13 1-1 11, Storr 7-8 2-4 16, Lopez 2-9 4-8 8, Cattage 1-2 3-6 5, Turecek 0-1 0-0 0, Kruckenberg 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-43 10-20 46.
Central-Southeastern 14 13 4 12 5--48
Rockford Lutheran 12 10 16 5 3--46
3-point field goals--Central-Southeastern 2-5 (Lantz 1-3, Vance 1-1, McClelland 0-1), Rockford Lutheran 2-16 (Davis 2-9, Lopez 0-4, Strawbridge 0-3). Rebounds--Rockford Lutheran 32 (Storr, Strawbridge 8), Central-Southeastern 33 (McClelland 14). Turnovers--Rockford Lutheran 12, Central-Southeastern 13. Fouls--Rockford Lutheran 15, Central-Southeastern 17. Fouled out--none. Officials--Randy Jones, Rod Lewis, Dennis Matthews.