The 10-point lead Charles City held about halfway through the 4th quarter had evaporated. With 1:27 left, it was a 4-point game and Mount Vernon was racing toward a breakaway basket.
Enter Comet Brennan Schmidt lunging from behind and knocking the ball loose to teammate Chase Low. He fires it ahead for a Kam Mestas dunk.
Comet Gym shook as fans leapt to their feet.
It was a key play in a game full of them, such as Jack Hanson netting a pair of free throws with 6.8 seconds left when his Comets were clinging to a 62-61 lead.
Charles City (17-5) went on to win the Class 3A Substate 4 playoff game, 64-61, and will take on Marion (18-5) at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, at Waterloo East High School.
Mestas led all scorers with 23 points. He drove inside for 11 buckets and sank 1 free throw.
Keenan Wiley had 14 points for the Comets, followed by Low with 11, Hanson with 9, and Schmidt with 7.
Schmidt hit two 3-pointers. Hansen got 1. They sank back-to-back 3-pointers in the second quarter to give Charles City the lead. By halftime, the Comets expanded it to 30-24.
Mount Vernon, however, sank eight 3-pointers to stay in the game. The Mustangs leading scorer was Joe Rhomberg with 16 points. He hit four 3-pointers.