AUBURN — The St. Dom’s girls’ basketball team missed its first 15 shots overall Tuesday night.

But the last shot is what mattered most, and Callie Greco didn’t miss.

The senior guard sank a free throw with eight seconds left in regulation to lift the Saints to a thrilling 38-37 win over Dirigo.

“Going into it, it was definitely a little nerve-wracking,” said Greco, who missed her first attempt but swished the second to break the tie. “I guess on the first one, I got the nerves out. On the second one, I knew I needed to take my time and finish it for the team. So I took my time, and I was just happy it paid off.”

It was a battle between two likely Western C playoff teams and a significant win for the Saints (12-2), ranked first in Western C.

“This is a huge game for us because it means we’re in the MVC Championship game,” said St. Dom’s coach Jon Berry, whose team will play undefeated Spruce Mountain in the conference game. “If we’d have lost this, it would have been a three-way tie between us, Carrabec and Oak Hill, and we’d have had to wait to see who had the most Heals.”

It was the fourth loss for the Cougars (8-5) by three points or less and second one-point loss in a row. Dirigo lost to Oak Hill in overtime Saturday night.

“We’ve got to snap out of it,” said Dirigo coach Reggie Weston, whose team was ranked sixth in Western C. “We’ve got Hall-Dale (Wednesday) and then we have (St. Dom’s) again Friday.”

Kelly Pomerleau led the Saints with 16 points while Faith Grady added eight before leaving the game with 4:31 left after a collision. She returned in the final minute. Greco finished with seven.

Dirigo got 13 from Jessica Conant and 10 from Kelsey Hutchins. Emma Lueders added eight.

Dirigo had rallied to tie the game three times in the fourth. The third time was with 25 seconds left. St. Dom’s had opened a 35-33 lead on a drive by Pomerleau and a basket by Chloe Dwinell on an offensive rebound. Dirigo answered with two free throws by Lauren Henderson with 59 seconds left. Then Hutchinson finished off an inbounds pass to tie it 37-37.

The Saints hopes for the game-winner began with an open look from Pomerleau from the outside but that shot missed. Greco ended up with the ball but was fouled in the low post with eight seconds remaining.

“It felt good,” Greco said of the second shot that put the Saints ahead for good. “I felt a little relieved. It was stressful, and I’m glad I was able to finish it for the team.”

Dirigo had one last chance after a timeout with four seconds left but a pass to the right side was deflected by Grady and Pomerleau grabbed it.

“Our girls have been in enough close games and overtime games so far this year that they’re just learning to win,” Berry said. “Whether it’s ugly, whether it’s pretty, whether it’s free throws, whether it’s defense or executing on offense, they’re finding ways to win. I’m encouraged by that.”

The Saints missed it first 12 shots from the floor to start the game and its first three free throws. St. Dom’s didn’t score until a Chloe Dwinell free throw with 2:58 left.

“Coming out, I think we were a little slow,” Greco said. “Our communication wasn’t there. I think we eventually figured our offense out and got our defense down really well. Then we were able to pick it up.”

Dirigo wasn’t able to take full advantage of the Saints’ offensive woes. Dirigo shot just 2-for-13 in the first and led just 5-3 after one. Then St. Dom’s used better defensive play and some fast break points to open the lead. The Saints scored 11 straight to finish the half with a 19-12 lead. Pomerleau had five points during that run, including a 3.

“I was surprised we were up by seven at halftime,” Berry said. “We were tentative for some reason. We missed a bunch of bunnies and made turnovers that were completely unforced.”

In the third, Dirigo shot 6-for-21 but still managed to rally from a 21-12 lead. Conant and Lueders led the charge with six points each to get the Cougars within 29-26 after three.

“I don’t know what it was as far as putting the ball in the hole,” Weston said. “They were just tentative to begin with. Then there are times we’ll shoot the lights out.”

A Lindsy Crutchfield 3 tied the game to open the fourth. After a drive by Pomerleau and a Greco rebound made it 33-29, Conant scored off a steal and then put back a rebound to tie it with 3:15 left.

“We did not execute tonight,” Weston said. “We have to execute. At least they stayed in the game. They were down. It was pretty ugly, especially in the first half. We came back and outplayed them in the second half, but it just wasn’t enough.”

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.