ROCKLAND – In 2019, the Sho-Ban Lady Chiefs won 21 games. They played three games at the state girls’ basketball tournament in Nampa.

They were set to return four starters from that team to this year’s squad, including tournament scoring champion and record holder Harley Jackson and all-around star Reesha Pokibro, she of the triple-double and occasional quadruple-double and they had Nakia Appenay, as good a three-point shooter as there is in high school basketball.

It was supposed to be easy. Show up, play some games and make a repeat appearance.

Only it hasn’t turned out that way. When you do what the Lady Chiefs did a year ago, everyone on your schedule has painted a great big target on your back and they will go to any means to beat you.

Strange things can also happen along the way. Your head coach leaves to take a job with better opportunities attached to it. Your new coach doesn’t do things quite the same way and it is tough to adjust to them. There are miracle finishes by other teams who may just want it a little bit more than you do.

That is what happened on Saturday, when the Lady Chiefs traveled to Rockland to take on the Bulldogs. The two teams have built up a bit of a rivalry over the past several years, a cherished one to be sure, and both teams work harder to beat each other than any other team on their schedule.

The game on Saturday proved that as the Rockland Lady Bulldogs found themselves trailing in the game by six points with only 10 seconds remaining on the clock.

Sounds like a chance to chalk up a win for Sho-Ban. It didn’t happen quite that way. In fact, Rockland was able to take in inbounds pass and score as the buzzer sounded to win the game and it didn’t even go to overtime. That is the kind of thing that happens when there is a target on your back.

The game was tight throughout, as Sho-Ban actually had the game tied at halftime, 19 points apiece.

That is when all of the action took place.

Rockland went ahead in the third period, 42-38, before Sho-Ban went on a furious run. They not only tied the score, they went ahead, 64-58, before Rockland got its miracle finish.

“If you’re a spectator, it was a wonder to watch,” Bulldogs coach Vern Nelson said. “We somehow miraculously came back and won it. It was an offensive game all the way. We just had to keep answering offensively.”

Whitney Peterson scored the last-second, game-winning basket on a layup off an inbounds play.

With the win, Rockland moves its season record to 13-2, 4-1 in conference play.

Sho-Ban is now 9-4 on the year, 2-1 in conference play. It is almost a sure thing that the two teams will meet again this season, probably with much higher stakes on the line.

ROCKLAND 66, SHO-BAN 64

Sho-Ban 9 10 19 26 – 64

Rockland 9 10 23 24 – 66

Sho-Ban – Nakia Appenay 9, Harley Jackson 27, Nappo 2, Tia Buckskin 11, Reesha Pokibro 10, Evening 4.

Rockland – Peterson 9, Wilson 2, Waite 6, Boyer 7, Madalyn Permann 31, Farr 11.