SUWANEE -- If you ask Meadowcreek's Terrance Snelling, buzzer-beating 3-pointers are his new forte.
Snelling had buzzer-beaters at the end of the third and fourth quarters, including in the fourth on a play which Snelling says went exactly the way it was drawn up. However, the distance it was shot from wasn't.
With 3.2 seconds left in the game, and after a North Gwinnett basket, Snelling put up a shot from 35-feet out that hit the bottom of the net with no time left on the clock, giving the Mustangs an improbable 57-55 win in the Region 7-AAAAAA quarterfinals.
"I told coach (during the timeout) to put the ball in my hands," Snelling said. "When I put the shot up, I was just thinking 'please go in.' When it did, it was the greatest feeling I've ever had."
The win lifts the Mustangs (9-17) to the state playoffs for the first time since 2009-10 and ends the season for the Bulldogs.
"We've been in games all year and have somehow always found a way to lose," said Meadowcreek head coach Billy Davis. "Tonight, we found a way to win. These guys believe in themselves and they were ready for this moment."
North controlled the game throughout, going on big runs at the beginning of each half.
The 11-2 run midway through the first quarter, pushed the Bulldogs out a 16-12 lead after the first quarter.
In the second, North stretched its lead to eight points, but the Mustangs continued to fight, not allowing the Bulldogs to get out too far in front. By halftime, the lead was still four, 29-25.
North (19-6) looked to take control of the game early in the third quarter, going on a 13-2 run to start the half as Tobias Howard's 3-pointer gave the Bulldogs a commanding lead.
But, Meadowcreek began to claw back as Snelling's first buzzer-beater brought the Mustangs to within 45-37.
The Bulldogs stretched their lead back to 49-41 on four-straight made free throws after a shooting foul and technical foul were called against the Mustangs.
Still, the Mustangs wouldn't go away.
Don Smith nailed two-straight 3-pointers to bring the Mustangs to within two points, and Snelling (15 points) hit two free throws to tie the game at 49-49.
"What can you say about our kids?" Davis said. "We're a young and inexperienced team, but these kids believed."
Austin Robinson's jumper gave the Mustangs their first lead since it was 4-2 early in the first quarter before North's Ahmad Caver went up and under for two to tie the game again.
Meadowcreek took a one-point lead on a Hicks free throw before Owen Lewis hit a floater to put North back on top.
The rest is history as Snelling hit his shot for the win.
"It just shows you that you never stop fighting," he said.
Howard led the Bulldogs with 22 points, while Caver added 10 and Lewis had nine.
For Meadowcreek, Robinson and Hicks each chipped in 11.
Peachtree Ridge 47, Duluth 42
Aaron Augustin has the keys to the car (metaphorically) for the Peachtree Ridge basketball squad.
Late in games, head coach Keith Arrington likes for his freshman to help determine the outcome of the game.
Against Duluth, it was on the defensive side of the ball where Augustin made the biggest impact as a steal and lay-up put the game away late for the Lions.
"It's tough to beat a team three times," Arrington said. "I don't care what anyone says, Duluth has gotten better and they showed it."
Up by three points after two free throws by Jordan Capps, Peachtree Ridge knew it would have to get a stop on defense to advance to the semifinals.
Active hands proved to be an advantage for Augustin as he took the ball and went the length of the court, giving the Lions a five-point lead.
It was a game where the Wildcats controlled early on, jumping out to a 18-7 lead after the first quarter as Peachtree Ridge struggled to find its shot.
The Lions, however, responded in the second quarter.
A steal and lay-up by Edwin Efezohkae brought the Lions to within 21-19 before Augustin knocked down a 3-pointer late in the quarter helping the give the Lions a 24-23 lead at halftime.
The Wildcats went back on top late in the third quarter as both teams struggled to find the basket early on in the third.
By the time the final quarter rolled around, Duluth held a 35-32 lead.
The score stayed close late as neither team was able to get ahead by more than a basket.
A three-point play by Amir Warnock tied the game at 39-39, while another basket on the inside by Warnock gave the Lions a 41-39 lead.
Obina Ofodile had a dunk off a rebound for Duluth to tie the score back up and the Wildcats took the lead with 1:04 to go on a free throw by Shamus Goss, who finished the game with 13 points.
A lay-up by Warnock on a pass from Capps put the Lions up 43-42, with Duluth unable to put the ball in the hoop again the rest of the way.
"There's no style points this late in the season," Arrington said. "All that matters is that we got the win and our guys showed a lot of heart."
The Wildcats also got nine points from Ify Imachukwu.
The Lions were led by Warnock with 11 points, while Augustin had 10.
Peachtree Ridge now faces Meadowcreek Friday in the semifinals.
"They are going to be coming in high after beating North," Arrington said. "It's going to be a tough one."