CHERRY HILL--- The Sterling girls basketball team finally ran a play head coach Kylie Marchese drew up to perfection.
With 2.8 seconds left on the clock, Nia Holloway took off down the right side of the court after receiving an in-bounds pass at midcourt.
As Holloway sprinted, she took a few dribbles and attempted a jumper that fell through the net as time expired to hand the Silver Knights a 42-41 Colonial Conference win over Haddonfield on Tuesday.
“Coach was like, “Finally you guys ran a play”,” Holloway said.
“All season we’ve been running plays differently and it wasn’t working," Sterling guard Imani Holloway said. “Finally she drew the play up, we ran it and got the shot off.”
The game-winning shot from the sophomore capped off a different type of win the Silver Knights have become used to during their 7-0 start.
Haddonfield frustrated the Silver Knights throughout the first half with its speed, defensive pressure and fast hands on the interior.
“We turned the ball over maybe 28 times,” Marchese said. “This was our worst game offensively by far and that’s a testament to (Haddonfield). They play good defense. We knew they were going to double inside and that it was going to be a tough game.”
Sterling continued to battle and stayed alive on offense by using its height to its advantage on the boards.
“We lost our heads a little bit, especially in the first half, and dug ourselves into a hole,” Marchese said. “I think the offensive boards kept us in it, just hustle plays and just for them to stick together.”
At the end of the fourth quarter, Haddonfield’s Keegan Douglas made one of her two free throws to put her team up by one point.
As the second foul shot banged off the rim, Sterling rushed to call timeout and set up the game-winning play.
“Make or miss, as soon as the ball gets on the floor, call a timeout,” Imani Holloway said. “We immediately called a timeout, drew up a play and got it off.”
As the shot fell through the net, Nia Holloway needed a second to figure how to celebrate before her teammates and coaches rushed to her.
“I was so happy,” Nia Holloway said. “When it went through the basket, I didn’t know what to do for a second.”
The win was a massive boost for the undefeated Silver Knights, who are 7-0 and have an upper hand on Haddonfield in the Colonial Liberty.
“It’s huge,” Marchese said. “We just won a big game on Saturday against Eastern. Coming in, I was trying to preach to them to play confident. They gave it to us in the first half a little bit.”
“But now when you come out with a win like this, it just makes your team a little bit tighter. It’s knowing we can find a way to win a game, even when things aren’t going our way and we’re not playing our best. It’s a great win for our program.”