WEST CHESTER – The final seconds of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I girls basketball regional final had tension befitting a matchup between two of Ohio's best teams, Mason and Mount Notre Dame.
As the clock wound down, Mason 6-foot-6-inch center Kyla Oldacre blocked the shot of fellow All-American K.K. Bransford, which would have given MND its first lead since early in the game.
Oldacre then hit freshman Madison Parrish on the outlet pass and the 14-year-old deposited the ball into the cylinder. When MND couldn't answer at the other end, fans in green and white ran from the packed Lakota West bleachers onto the court to celebrate with their Comets.
Mason beat previously undefeated MND 43-41 in the teams' first meeting in four years.
"I've got to make this and do it for my senior and that's exactly what we did," Parrish said of her thought process at the time.
Mason's student section soon joined the victorious team who now heads to the state semifinals for the first time since 2018. Not only did they win the big game, but they also ended MND's 98-game win streak, which dates back to January 2019 when they lost to Centerville.
Oldacre led all scorers with 21 points and added 10 rebounds for her 11th double-double. Notre Dame signee Bransford was held to 10 points but added 12 rebounds and 6 assists in her final high school game.
"This means a lot to us," Oldacre said. "They're probably the No. 1 team in the U.S. with their streak. It's amazing. It feels unreal still that we did it. We kept our composure and we got the dub (W)."
Junior Taylor Stanley led the Cougars with 15 points. Senior Abby Wolterman left the game early with an ankle injury, leaving MND to battle Oldacre without their top rebounder.
MND ends the season 26-1 and Mason is now 26-2. There were more than 800 career wins on opposite benches between MND's Dr. Scott Rogers and Mason's Rob Matula. After a rough and tumble match, both coaches met at midcourt and shook hands.
Mason had the early surge, going up 8-2 and eventually winning the opening quarter 15-11. MND was dealt the harsh blow when Wolterman went down with a twisted ankle, never to return.
That left 5-foot-11 inch Bransford and 6-foot-2 inch sophomore Laila Harrison trying to keep future Miami Hurricane Oldacre out of the paint. Ultimately, minus Wolterman, MND had no answer for Mason's No. 44.
"I don't have an answer for Kyla," Mason coach Rob Matula said. "I don't know who does. I hope the next two teams don't have an answer for Kyla."
The Comets were then able to key on Ohio Ms. Basketball Bransford, who was held to just 4 points at the break.
Stanley tried to pick up the scoring slack from the outside and was able to get MND within five by the end of the third frame. Crysta LaCrosse's 3-pointer tied the game at 41 with just over a minute and it appeared the Cougars would hold for the final shot.
Bransford drove but then ran into the palm of Oldacre yet again. Then it was one pass to Parrish and a winning bucket for the Comets.
"It was nerve-wracking," Oldacre said of the series. "I knew we had to get a stop. I knew I had to get the rebound and throw it out to Maddie Parrish. It was amazing. She made the shot."
MND's Rogers is now intent on starting a new win streak.
"I'm so proud of our kids," Rogers said. "That senior class, I'll take them over anybody. They're just special. To fight back like we did when we lost our leading rebounder and second-leading scorer, we had two shots to win the game."
Roger said Wolterman was crushed over the injury and that she cried the whole game. In his opinion, he didn't think she would have been able to play at state had MND pulled out the win.
Mason now moves on to the Division I state semifinal Thursday at 6 p.m. against Massillon Jackson at the University of Dayton Arena. The Polar Bears are 20-6. Reynoldsburg and Whitehouse Anthony Wayne are in the other semi at 8 p.m.
Matula is eager to get his Comets to the Gem City where he says there are no better fans.
"I'm probably going to hear it from the UC or Ohio State (fans), but Dayton and high school sports, boys and girls, they love it," Matula said. "I'm looking forward to it."
It's the ninth straight season Greater Cincinnati has had a representative in the Division I state semifinals.
MASON 15 12 6 10 43
MOUNT NOTRE DAME 11 9 8 13 41
M Johnson 2 0 6 Barnes 1 0 2 Parrish 5 2 12 Resig 1 0 2 Oldacre 9 3 21
MND Harrison 1 0 2 Broughton 1 1 3 LaCrosse 2 0 6 Bransford 4 2 10 Stanley 6 0 15 Francisco 2 0 5