Moline had a point to prove, and Rock Island had a championship to win.
When the two met Thursday night, they wrote another chapter in the QC's best rivalry, as the Rocky girls outlasted Moline 64-63 in overtime to win the outright Western Big 6 Conference girls basketball championship, their second title in a row after last season's split.
The Maroons (8-19, 2-7 WB6), playing with a chip on their collective shoulder, fired away at better than 50-percent from the floor and Jordan de los Reyes had her best game of the season, but it wasn't enough to keep the Rocks from celebrating at center court in their home gym after the win.
The victory was sealed in a rather bizarre fashion as Jacqueline Twing hauled down a wild pass, and with her back to the basket, turned and chucked it at the hoop, making contact with Moline's Ashley Lewis and drawing a whistle.
With just 3.3 seconds left, Twing made 1-of-2 free throws giving Rocky a 62-61 lead. But a Moline turnover gave the ball back with 1.8 seconds left. Harmonee Trice was fouled 8-tenths of a second later and made both free throws to give the Rocks a 3-point lead.
A full-court pass to Morgan Gerard went uncontested, but the Moline sharpshooter couldn't haul it down until she was under the basket, making a layup at the buzzer for the final total.
Gerard ended with a game-high 18 points, while the Maroons also got a double-double from de los Reyes with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Emily Knight added 15, with Kristina Bozickovic leading the way from the point. The big shot of the night came when de los Reyes banged home a 3-pointer with just 28 seconds left in regulation to tie things up and force overtime.
For the Rocks (23-3, 9-0 WB6), Shavonne Brewer matched de los Reyes' totals with her own double-double, while Mercedes Jackson also accomplished the feat with 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Shamia Clark also got into double-figures with 10 points.
"I'm thrilled to have won," Rocky coach Thad Hoover said. "This really shows how good our league is."
The Maroons led the majority of the game, although Rocky had its biggest lead of the night, five, with just 46 seconds left. Turnovers, and de los Reyes buckets, led to the tie and overtime.
"We've got great competitors, these kids didn't want to quit until the end. It was just an unfortunate result," Moline coach Steve Ford said. "We just played the No. 6 team in the state to 1 point in overtime. We're where we need to be, playing our best at the end of the season."
The Rocks were 7-for-8 from the free-throw line in overtime, not needing a field goal to get the win and maybe that's for the best. Rocky was just 20-for-71, or 28-percent, from the field for the game, and an awful 4-for-32 from behind the 3-point arc.
Moline on the other hand will be haunted by what could have been as they went just 9-for-21 from the free-throw line and committed 27 turnovers.
"Our free throws saved us," said Brewer of the Rocks, who lost a game due to free throws earlier in the season. "We lived and learned. We went back in the gym and played a game called logjam where we just focused on free throws."
The win gives Rock Island just its second ever outright WB6 crown.
"When I came to Rocky, we were toward the bottom of the conference so this means a lot," Brewer said. "It really means a lot. It kind of makes me want to shed a tear."