The Heritage Lady Generals, down by 10 points with under two minutes to go in the third quarter, put on a stirring comeback to beat GPS of Chattanooga, 48-45, in the opening game of the Best of Preps tournament at Chattanooga State on Thursday morning.
Heritage scored just five points in the opening quarter and trailed 26-15 at halftime. They were down 32-22 with less than two minutes to play in the third period when comeback began.
Ansley Bice drained a 3-pointer with 1:39 to go in the quarter before coming up with a steal and a sweet behind-the-back move at half-court, which led to another lay-up. She then forced a traveling call on the Bruisers' ensuing possession before hitting another 3-pointer.
GPS would score on its next trip down the floor, but with the clock winding down in the period, the Lady Generals would get the ball under the basket with just one second left on the clock. The inbound pass went to Nicole Fine at the top of the key and Fine banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer, capping the 11-2 run and cutting the deficit to 34-33 as the fourth quarter got underway.
The Bruisers would push the lead back out to seven points with four minutes remaining when Heritage made its final charge.
Emily Wiley scored five straight to chop the lead to 41-38 with 3:50 to play and Bice would hit another three to cut the lead to two with 3:09 remaining. A slash to the bucket by Wiley made it a one-point game with less than two minutes to play and, following a missed shot by GPS, Fine delivered a great pass on the baseline to Haley Phillips, who hit a clutch 3-pointer from the wing with 1:21 remaining to finally give the Lady Generals the lead at 46-45.
Bice would then come up with another steal on the other end and Heritage would run the clock down to less than 20 seconds to go before GPS was finally forced to foul. Wiley calmly hit both ends of a one-and-one with 15.7 seconds remaining to put her team up three and the Bruisers would miss a final 3-point attempt at the buzzer as Heritage completed the improbable rally.
Wiley finished with a game-high 20 points, while Bice drained three 3-pointers and dropped in 18.
Hannah Sanders had 13 points to lead GPS.
The Lady Generals (8-4 overall) will play again on Friday at 4 p.m. in a semifinal match-up against Meigs County, a winner on Thursday against Notre Dame.