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Sydney Stokes' buzzer beater stuns Ewing, sends Mainland to Group 3 state final

Mainland's Sydney Stokes (2) celebrates after making the game-winning shot in the NJSIAA Group 3 state semifinal girls' basketball game played at Deptford Township High School in Deptford, New Jersey on Wednesday, March 6, 2024. Collin Conway/D2 Sports Network

DEPTFORD - Tied 43-43 with 5.6 seconds left in regulation, the Mainland Regional High School girls' basketball team needed a hero.

Mainland coach Scott Betson called Kasey Bretones' number. Bretones took the inbound pass from the sideline and made a beeline for the basket.

The shot fell short and hit the bottom of the backboard, but Sydney Stokes was in the right place at the right time. The senior grabbed the rebound and immediately put up a shot that went through the net as the buzzer sounded. The Mustangs stunned Ewing, 45-43, in the Group 3 state semifinals at Deptford Township High School to advance to the Group 3 state final.

"I have no words to describe how I feel," Stokes said. "This is something every player dreams about, and getting to actually do it is surreal."

The Fairleigh Dickinson commit poured in eight points and grabbed 13 rebounds.

Ewing sprinted out of the gate to an 11-2 lead in the first quarter and held a six-point advantage after a quarter. Mainland cut its deficit to five points as the Blue Devils struggled to hit shots in the second quarter. The Mustangs trailed, 18-13, at halftime.

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