Mount Paran, up 35-32 after the trey, added a foul shot and the Lady Eagles sank a field goal to end scoring at 36-34 in favor of the visiting team from Kennesaw.
Excel head coach Michael Roberson said game management cost his team.
“Late in the game when we had the lead, I should have done a better job of managing the game,” Roberson said. “The girls never have been in that position before with about a minute remaining. I should have done a better job managing the game.”
Excel led most of the second half in the contest, exploding early in the third quarter to surge into the lead after trailing 18-15 at the break.
The Lady Wildcats took the lead, 19-18, courtesy of a free throw by Emily Willingham at the 5:24 mark of the period. Willingham then added a bucket, followed by a free throw and bucket by Walker Bell to go up 24-20 at the end of three full quarters.
Excel used three consecutive buckets by Miriam Hibbard to fashion a 6-2 run in the front end of the fourth quarter for a 30-22 lead with 4:11 showing.
Mount Paran answered with two field goals, one by Sarah Kelley and the second by Renee Van Horn to close to 28-26.
A free throw and field goal pulled Mount Paran to 32-31, when Bell, Excel’s senior guard, fouled out with 1:10 left in the game. Mount Paran’s Shannon McGeary added a free throw to knot the score at 32-all.
That’s when Cameron hit the game-winning shot to give her team its first lead of the final quarter.
Excel scored first on the night with a bucket by Willingham, but Mount Paran answered with a 6-0 run to go up 6-2 at the 5:11 mark of the first period. The Lady Eagles sliced two points off that lead with a Walker Bell bucket, then closed to 6-5 on a free throw by Bell.
Mount Paran outscored the home team 12-10 in the second quarter. Bell scored seven of Excel’s points in the period while Willingham sank a bucket and Abby Keefe tickled the nets for a free throw.
The game was in sharp contrast to the performance of the two teams last year. The Lady Eagles took a 36-point drubbing that game, losing 68-32.
Scoring for Excel were Willingham,11; Walker Bell, 14; Keefe, 1; Miriam Hibbard, 6; and Catie Metcalf, 2. The Lady Eagles were 5-of-13 from the free throw line.
Excel (2-3 overall and 0-0 in 6A-A) next plays Saturday, when the Lady Eagles visit Yeshiva, still in search of their third win of the season. Last year they were 2-17 and a win would eclipse that mark. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m.
Mount Paran improved to 3-1 overall on the season. It is 0-0 in Region 6B-A.