York trailed Northwestern 51-50 with 10.7 seconds left, but had the ball out of bounds after a timeout with a chance to win.
Surely the ball would make it to the hands of OB Love, who had already scorched the nets for 28 points. But Northwestern was on him like last year's winter coat and the Cougars had to look for a last shot elsewhere.
They got three.
Guard Wade Ramsey fired a jumper from the left wing that was off the mark, but followed his shot and put up another jumper. It bounced off the rim, but Quention Wright leaped into the air and tipped it in.
York coach Kendell McCarter and his players stormed off their bench, cheering with their hands held high over their heads.
The celebration was premature. The referees waved off the basket, ruling that it came after the buzzer.
"It was good,'' Wright said. "I made the tip and watched the ball. The buzzer went off when it hit the rim and we thought we had won. It was a tough way to lose a game this big.''
Northwestern, York and South Pointe went into their Region 3-AAAA games tied for second place, each at 7-3 with four games left. South Pointe beat Clover and stayed even with Northwestern while York dropped to third place.
York (13-7, 7-4 Region 3-AAAA) led most of the game, going up by eight in the third quarter when Love hit a pair of free throws that put his team ahead 41-33.
Northwestern, playing on tired legs after Monday's home game against No. 1 Fort Mill, reached back and put some hi-test gas in the tank.
The Trojans (11-10, 8-3) outscored the Cougars 9-2 the rest of the quarter and led 44-43 going into the final eight minutes.
"We had dead legs in the first half, but managed to stay close,'' Northwestern coach Mike Gossett said. "I told our guys that this game was for second place in the region, that they had to dig deep if they wanted it.
"Again, we missed free throws down the stretch that could have given us a comfortable lead. But I couldn't be prouder of our guys. We had only nine available players and everyone played hard.''
Northwestern's biggest fighters were 6-foot-7 center Taylor Shugart and 6-1 forward Labris Adams. Shugart was a force inside, scoring 18 points and ruling the boards.
Adams, shooting from spots all over the court when he was driving to the hoop, had 17.
The final quarter was strange. Northwestern scored seven points, all from the free throw line. York also scored seven points, but six came on shots from the field.
Both teams had opportunities to put the game away. Shugart, usually money from the line, missed all four of his shots after going 4-for-4 over the first three quarters.
"I was really tired at the end and feel Monday's game took a lot out of us,'' Shugart said. "But I should have made the free throws. What I liked was when York had the lead, we never gave up.''
York's best chance to pull it out before the dramatic final 10 seconds came with 2:32 remaining. Northwestern had the ball on its end leading 50-47 when Gossett was hit with a technical foul.
Ramsey went to the line and missed both shots, but the Cougars kept possession because of the technical. Freshman Jerry Holmes drove for a layup and pulled the Cougars within a point.
Ramsey made 1-of-2 free throws after Northwestern missed on the other end, tying the game at 50. But Zach Beaver scored the winning point, a free throw with 33 seconds left.
"We'll be back,'' McCarter said. "We have three games left, but we can still finish second. But I know what we're doing tomorrow at practice. We're going to shoot free throws until we get it right."