There was the unsung hero coming up with a clutch shot at the end of regulation and the star player making the type of improbable game-changing play that stars make. There were comebacks and close calls, steals and celebrations.
And then there was heartbreak. Again.
Couch senior Alex Hower erased the Panthers' happy ending with a 3-pointer as time ran out in overtime to tie the game and then made another on her team's first possession in double overtime to help push her team to a 59-50 victory at the Bearcat Event Center.
Meadow Heights (25-4) finished the season one win shy of the final four for a third consecutive year.
"I think that it brought our momentum down whenever she hit that because we were just thinking, 'OK we're 11 seconds from state, we're almost there, and then we just...," Welker said before stopping mid-sentence.
"She made a big shot."
Welker, a standout post player, had given her team its first lead since the third quarter with 35 seconds left in the first overtime.
Meadow Heights trailed 42-41 with the clock ticking down to 30 seconds left in the first extra session. Couch was in possession when Welker forced a turnover at midcourt, grabbed the loose ball and raced to the other end for a basket.
Welker, who was fouled on the play, grabbed a teammate in excitement and jumped up and down on the court before sinking the free throw.
The Panthers won the tip in double overtime, but turned over the ball after a possession that lasted more than a minute.
"We were trying to be patient and just keep moving until we got a good open look," Meadow Heights coach Mitch Nanney said. "That took a while so we had to be more patient."
Hower, who finished with a game-high 27 points, made a 3-pointer 15 seconds later, and Couch went 10 for 10 from the free-throw line the rest of the way to protect its lead.
Couch took a 39-36 lead with two minutes left in regulation after making both free throws resulting from senior starter Heather Dietiker's fifth foul.
"It takes some leadership off the floor because she brings leadership and defense and she's an all-around good player, so everyone else has to step and compensate for the loss whenever she's gone," Welker said.
Couch missed the front end of three 1-and-1 opportunities, and the Panthers missed two 3-point shots before light-scoring senior Mica Morse tied the game with a 3-pointer.
"To be honest, I wanted to watch, pretty much watch because that's how nervous I was," Morse said about her early game jitters Saturday. "When coach put me in, he's like, 'You're going to get a shot here,' and I was like, 'What?' He's was like, 'Yep,' so that's what I did.
Meadow Heights' defense prevented a winning basket for Couch at the end of regulation as its fans chanted "all the way" in the stands, a team motto the big Meadow Heights' crowd yelled often.
"I know that Mica's a really good 3-point shooter, but she doesn't normally shoot a lot," Welker said. "She has a good percentage, but whenever she made that, it was just unexpected, so I was just like, 'Oh my gosh.'"
Welker led Meadow Heights with 19 points while junior Erin Bollmann finished with 14.
Five seniors played their final game for the Panthers on Saturday.
Dietiker and Gina Cureton scored six points each and Hattie Cook scored two. All played roles in Meadow Heights' success each of the past three seasons along with classmates Morse and Jillian Mills.
"I just think that we've been here three times and we didn't want to let anybody down again, and so I think our nerves were just going too much," Dietiker said.
"I think we could've played better this game, but I am proud of our overall season."
MEADOW HEIGHTS (50) -- Mica Morse 3, Hattie Cook 2, Gina Cureton 6, Erin Bollmann 14, Heather Dietiker 6, Whitney Welker 19. FG 18, FT 11-18, F 20. (3-pointers: Morse 1, Dietiker 2. Fouled out: Dietiker, Cureton)
COUCH (59) -- Sarah Neptune 13, Jordon Hale 8, Alex Hower 27, Cassie Roberts 6, Elizabeth Nessling 5. FG 18, FT 19-27, F 16. (3-pointers: Hale 2, Hower 2. Fouled out: none)