Down seven points to Molloy with only 35 seconds remaining, it seemed certain that St. Anthony's season was over.
But Chastity Taylor got a steal, drove the court and scooped in a layup as two converging defenders collided with her, leading to a three-point play.
Then, with the Friars down five, Rebecca Musgrove found an opening atop the arc and drilled a three-pointer with 30 seconds left. A Molloy free throw put St. Anthony's down three, but open again on the left wing was Musgrove. And there was hope.
"It felt good leaving my hand and I was hoping it would be just like the one before," Musgrove said, fighting back tears. "It just wasn't."
The senior's shot, with five seconds left, hit the side of the rim and fell into the arms of Molloy's Aryn McClure, who was fouled. She sank both free throws and ended St. Anthony's season, 60-55, Wednesday in a state CHSAA Class AA girls basketball quarterfinal at St. John Villa.
"We got a good look, in the hands of someone we're confident in, so that's all you can ask for," Friars coach Ken Parham said. "It just didn't go in."
The fifth-seeded Friars had a second straight playoff run ended by No. 4 Molloy. They lost, 58-55, in overtime to the Stanners a year ago Thursday.
"It's really frustrating," Musgrove said. "We overcame the foul trouble and came back, but it just didn't go our way."
Musgrove had 19 points and four steals for St. Anthony's (22-6). Charise Wilson added nine points and three assists, and Johanna Impellizeri had six points and 13 rebounds.
A few controversial calls went against St. Anthony's, particularly in the first half. The Stanners shot 23 free throws to the Friars' seven, and Taylor (five points) was limited because of early foul trouble.
"Not to sound bitter, but the calls really cost us," Wilson said. "I think we were good enough to win it all."
Nevertheless, St. Anthony's led late. Wilson's jumper put them up 45-42 with 5:06 remaining, but they didn't score again until a minute left. Nyasha Irizarry's three-pointer gave Molloy a 48-45 lead with 2:56 left, and Carolyn Gallagher's layup made it 56-45 with 1:01 left.
Musgrove's putback of her missed free throw pulled St. Anthony's within 56-49, preceding Taylor's three-point play.
Gallagher had 19 points and Amani Tatum 14 for Molloy.
"There were a lot of positives this season," Parham said, already reflective. His team won a third straight league title with last week's upset of St. Mary's. "We've never won three in a row before, so we have to look back on this year and be proud."
St. Mary's, SJB seasons end. Mei-Lyn Bautista had 14 points and Jordan Agustus chipped in 12 as No. 2 St. Mary's (24-5) was upset by No. 7 Bishop Loughlin, 64-51, in a CHSAA Class AA quarterfinal . . . Sydney Zambrotta had 12 points and Aliyah Smith 11 but No. 8 St. John the Baptist lost to No. 1 Bishop Ford, 59-40, in a CHSAA Class AA quarterfinal.