NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas -- Just weeks earlier, Southlake Carroll freshman guard Kennedy Leonard had the opportunity to seal a victory over district rival Keller by hitting last-second free throws, but she wasn't able to convert.
To lift her spirits, her teammates told her she would have the same opportunity again some day and would be successful the second time around.
Little did the Carroll girls basketball team know that chance would come against Mansfield Timberview in the area round of the 5A playoffs.
Leonard hit a free throw with 5.9 seconds left in the game to tie the score at 38 and force overtime, where the Lady Dragons would hang on for a 48-46 victory.
“All the coaches were like 'you are going to get another chance to do it,' " Leonard said. "So I had to step up for my team and just had to make it.”
Leonard had spent the majority of the game sitting on the bench because of foul trouble, something Carroll coach Teri Morrison said was simply caused by freshman mental mistakes.
But with four fouls, Leonard played the majority of the fourth quarter, tallying six points in the frame, including a huge 3-pointer in the opening minute that brought her team within striking distance. She finished with nine points.
Once the game was pushed into overtime, senior Sierra Maykus took over where Leonard left off. Maykus drilled a 3-pointer that gave the Dragons their first lead of the game moments into the extra stanza and hit again on Carroll’s next possession to drive the margin to 46-42.
Maykus finished with a team-high 13 points after a scoreless first half.
“I just forgot about all the shots I missed and pretended like it was a brand new game,” Maykus said. “I was definitely getting frustrated, but I tried to forget about getting frustrated and it worked.”
Carroll barely has enough time to catch its breath before it faces ESPN Dallas 5A No. 2 Duncanville in the regional quarterfinals. The game will be played at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Fort Worth’s Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center.