Locked in a back-and-forth game in the fourth quarter, McQueen coach John Franklin called a timeout. Franklin reminded his team their playoff hopes rested in the final quarter.
The Lancers responded, outscoring the Spanish Springs 22-4 in the final quarter en route to a 59-46 win.
"We needed to step back, get back on defense, get our minds back right and just give it everything we had," Franklin said. "If we didn't do that, we were going home, hopes and dreams were all over. And they just fought."
The offensive fury was spearheaded by a thunderous dunk from McQueen's DaeShawn Patterson off a steal. Patterson scored all of his 15 points in the second half in just his second game of the season.
"I feel like my team, we wanted it more," Patterson said. "We one-and-done, we got to win or go home. I think my team gave it all. My team needed me to step up and I stepped up."
Eight 3-pointers in the first half kick started the Lancers, who took a 10-point lead into halftime. But Spanish Springs clamped down of defense in the third quarter to take a 5-point lead at the end of the third quarter.
However, eight fourth-quarter turnovers and a mere four points doomed the Cougars, who could have clinched a playoff berth with a win.
"McQueen was outstanding," Spanish Springs coach Kyle Penney said. "They came out on fire, shot the ball well in the first half. We were able to weather it a bit, but had a really bad fourth quarter."
The Cougars (14-10, 8-7) are on a three-game slide and end the season at home against Reed, but optimism is still high for the squad.
"We've still got a shot at the two seed with a win on Friday. That's a good thing," Penney said. "That means we've done enough throughout the season. We should come in confident with a little bit of bitterness in our mouth and be ready to play."
McQueen (12-13, 6-7) has won four of its last five and closes the season on the road against rival Reno High. The Lancers are no stranger to the win-or-go-home mentality.
"We've been in the playoffs since last Friday," Franklin said. "We're chipping away and trying to get better as we go every game, you win or you go home."