About one-tenth of a second was the difference between the Lady Bulldogs picking up a marquee conference win or losing a third straight on Tuesday night.
Unfortunately for the Brookfield girls' basketball team, it was the latter.
The Bulldogs hosted Palmyra in the Clarence Cannon opener and fell 45-44. Brookfield stuck with a one-loss Palmyra team early on, and did enough down the stretch to give itself more than a chance.
"We played the game we needed to play in order to be successful," Brookfield coach Tony Fairchild said. "I think our girls proved to themselves that we can play with anybody, blow-for-blow."
A physically much larger Palmyra side held a 20-15 lead at the halftime break, and five points would be its largest lead from that point onward. After Fairchild used a timeout down 41-40 with 1:50 remaining in the game, senior Bulldog guard Cassi Conard forced a turnover and was fouled in transition. She made both of her free throws to give Brookfield its first lead of the game.
On the ensuing possession, Brookfield was again fouled, and senior Rylee Sensenich knocked both of her attempts down to give her girls a three-point lead with 25 seconds to play.
Brookfield never possessed the ball inbounds again.
With 9.6 seconds remaining, a missed Palmyra three-point attempt led to an all-too-familiar putback layup, and the Panthers burned a timeout immediately, down one.
On the ensuing inbound, the Bulldogs had nowhere to go thanks to great pressure by Palmyra, and with five seconds remaining, the Panthers used another timeout.
Off of its inbound, Palmyra took a wide-open three-pointer that rimmed out, and again, led to a Bailey Lovelace putback -- only this time, it was just as the buzzer sounded.
Depending on who you ask, Lovelace still had the ball on her fingertip as time expired, but the officials quickly ruled the field goal good.
Brookfield's defense was as sharp as it had been all season on Tuesday night, and the offense was dynamic despite a lukewarm evening shooting.
"As a coach, you can never really be happy about a loss, but one thing you could never doubt was our girls' effort tonight," Fairchild said. "We gave up a lot on the offensive glass, but that's going to happen when we get spread out trying to pressure their guards."
Kaylie Stufflebean finished with a team-high 13 points for the Bulldogs, including 10 in the fourth quarter. Sensenich posted 12, and Conard finished with 11. Kaley Smith finished with three buckets, and Kate Ewing rounded out scoring with two points.
Palmyra senior guard Megan Stone did the most damage for her team on Tuesday, finishing with 21.
The Bulldogs fall to 9-8 and have an opportunity to break a three-game skid when they travel to face 4-7 Highland on Friday.