Scored tied, final seconds ticking away Wednesday night in the Clovis West High gym and Millikan-Long Beach's Johanna Dungca stood at midcourt, dribbling.
Understand, at 4 feet, 10 inches the senior point guard didn't stand very tall, either.
"Over time," she would say later, "I got over the fact I'm under 5 feet."
Over time, the Golden Eagles may get over the fact of what she proceeded to do.
"I don't back down," Dungca said after splitting the heart of the key and banking in a left-handed layup with four seconds remaining -- her only basket of the game -- to close Millikan's 46-44 comeback victory in the first round of the Southern California Division I Regional.
Clovis West's second-seeded boys then lost 60-50 to No. 15 Rancho Verde-Moreno Valley in the second game of the doubleheader.
Those boys seeds almost seemed in reverse order, given the Eagles' 66-53 loss to Bullard on Saturday night for the Central Section D-I title, and Rancho Verde hailing from the mighty Southern Section.
Clovis West's girls (23-6), meanwhile, earned a more understandable No. 3 seed after routing Stockdale 53-38 for a D-I crown on the same night.
But Clovis West coach Craig Campbell warned from the moment he saw Sunday evening's seedings that Millikan's No. 14 was a bogus draw for a 27-4 Southern Section team that he said may be the second-most talented only to No. 1 Etiwanda in the 15-team bracket.
"Big, strong and athletic," he said of the Rams, who have lost only to three of the state's top teams in Long Beach Poly (twice), Santiago-Corona and Troy-Fullerton.
That description obviously didn't apply to Dungca -- not at least in physical terms.
No matter. And the heck with the fact she was scoreless, ball in hand, with the outcome hanging in the balance.
"If nobody steps in front of her," Rams coach Lorene Morgan, "she has the green light."
Millikan suddenly saw green in the final two quarters after shooting 19.3% (6 for 31) and trailing 27-17.
Yet Campbell felt discomfort because he knew two of the Rams' impact players, 6-foot senior center Dionna Henley and senior guard Erin Hagan, would return after missing most of the first half with foul trouble.
"They hadn't played well and some of their horses were coming back," he said. "I was concerned."
Millikan, which left campus at 9:15 a.m. Wednesday for the 250-mile drive, played with an entirely different level of energy after opening the second half with an 8-0 run on 3s by sophomore Madeline Dopplick (14 points) and Basha Brulee-Wills, and a Henley layup.
The Rams actually built a 42-35 lead before Clovis West found another gear behind Emily Anderson (13 points) and Briana Watts, whose rebound basket tied it, 44-44, with 28 seconds remaining.
"Our focus wasn't as sharp as it had been," Campbell said. "They played with a little bit of a hangover. This was this group's first Valley championship and state tournament.
"But it came down to one possession against a great team like that. I'm really proud of our kids. We really weren't in the (section) discussion early on. It was Hanford, Stockdale and Bullard making some noise. I told the kids after the game they went from a really good team to a great team."
No drama in the boy's game
Rancho Verde (24-6) made three 3-pointers to open the game, built a 21-10 first-quarter lead and coasted past Clovis West (22-7).
Senior guard Andrew Bournes led the Mustangs with 23 points.
Khaneal Mason and Ramiro Sanchez each scored 12 points for the Eagles, who played without starting junior forward Weston Hatten, who sprained an ankle against Bullard.
Keep up each day with Valley sports on the Beehive's blog at sports.fresnobeehive.com