With less than a second remaining in Friday's North Coast Section Division I girls basketball championship game between Monte Vista High and Heritage, Mustangs coach Ron Hirschman was finally able to raise his arms in victory.
He hugged sophomore guard Amanda Daily and said, "We did it," before his bench emptied onto the floor in celebration as the buzzer sounded.
With a patient offense, clutch outside shooting and good free-throw shooting from Daily, Monte Vista upset No. 1 seed Heritage 50-42 at Saint Mary's College to win its first NCS Division I title since 2009.
"We just played so hard and fought so hard," said Hirschman, who was constantly substituting players. "I don't think too many people gave us a chance (against Heritage on Friday)."
The teams had split their nonleague games this season, with Monte Vista prevailing 44-43 on Nov. 30, and Heritage winning 44-30 on Dec. 13.
The Patriots, who were looking for their first section title, had a good start Friday and led 14-8 in the first quarter.
But Monte Vista (24-5) stuck close and was within striking range at halftime, trailing 23-18.
The Mustangs outscored Heritage 15-3 in the third quarter to take the lead and didn't trail in the fourth quarter.
Heritage (24-5) drew within three at 45-42 with 1:39 to play on a layup by Sydney Berry but didn't score again, as Daily and Angela Rigo accounted for the rest of Monte Vista's points with free throws.
"It feels great, our team played really well," Bessolo said. "I couldn't do it without my team. We worked together."
Valley Christian had to outlast International's sensational sophomore guard Shayna Mehta, who had 27 of the team's 40 points. No other International player had more than four.
The Vikings harassed Mehti up and down the court all game long. Arianna Cunha would pick up Mehta in the backcourt, daring the Jaguars to have somebody else handle the ball.
The strategy appeared to wear down Mehta, who had just four points in the fourth quarter.
"She's incredible," Valley Christian coach Scott Babinat said. "We put our best defender on her and said, 'Dig in and make everything difficult.' Everything she got she obviously earned. She's an amazing player."
Babinat had a pretty good player himself in Bessolo, a freshman forward. She scored seven points in the final quarter, making a shot with her back to the basket while being fouled early in the period and taking two sweet passes from Ayad underneath for key buckets as the Vikings pulled away.
International coach Charlene Murphy lamented she couldn't get more offensive help for Mehta.
-- Damin Esper, correspondent