Taylor's trey raised Cass -- trailing 58-56 at the time -- to a 59-58 victory and sends them to the next round of the state basketball AAAA playoffs against the winner of the Chamblee-Rockdale County game. A game against Chamblee would be hosted by the Colonels while a victory by Rockdale would send Cass on the road again.
"It's just a tremendous win for us," head coach Greg Scott said. "Now we're one of 16 teams left."
He said Taylor, a senior, was one of three options presented the team when coaches called a time out with 19 seconds remaining.
The other two options were for two points to tie the game but Chapel Hill had them covered with the clock winding down the precious seconds that remained.
"Sam was just sitting out there wide open and he put it up with seven seconds remaining -- we wanted to have enough time to rebound it in case we missed," the coach said.
That didn't happen, though, and Cass quickly switched to its strategy of denying the Panthers a good shot at the other end of the court.
"They got a shot up," Scott said, "but it wasn't a good one. However they got two tries at tip-ins that didn't fall."
Taylor wasn't the only big cog in the Colonel offensive machine this night.
Jay Stephens, another senior and the team's point guard, kept the Colonels up with his own offensive show as he tossed in 26 points -- 13 in each half.
"We kind of rode Jay all night and he came through for us," Scott said.
He added that Jozelle Payne, a 6 foot, 1 inch junior, stood tall for Cass on the boards. "But, really, all of our kids really battled for rebounds for us. [Chapel Hill] was taller than we were."
The Cass coach credited the entire team with keeping the Colonels in the game, one that they led most of the way.
Cass trailed 13-12 at the end of the first quarter but surged ahead in the second frame with an 18-8 run to lead 30-21.
The Colonels had a 48-37 lead at the third quarter mark.
The Panthers came roaring back in the final period, however.
"They hit 10 of 11 free throws to go along with five baskets, one a 3, and they were up 58 to 56 with 30 seconds left," Scott said.
The Colonels took the ball back down the court intending to shorten the game and take its last good shot, eating up 11 seconds before calling their time out.
Then Cass coaches laid out their two options to tie and Taylor made overtime planning unnecessary.
Scott said the Cass crowd was also a big factor.
"I think we had more there than they did," he said, expressing his appreciation. "They were just tremendous and vocal all night long and our kids just did a great job to get this win."
Also scoring for Cass were Tarris Batiste, with 9; Tony Mitchell, 5; Payne, 5; Kaleb Reed, 2; and Trey Walker, 4.
The victory raised the Cass record to 21-8 on the season.
Chapel Hill dropped to 20-9.