One more made field goal or one more field goal missed by the opposition.
To say the margin of victory in the two meetings between the Waterford Lady Wildcats and Eastern Lady Eagles during the regular season was close would definitely qualify as an understatement.
Eastern snapped Waterford's 48-game league winning streak with a 57-55 victory in December only to watch the Lady Wildcats avenge their lone league loss in six years with a 73-70 win in February.
With the two teams slated to meet on the basketball court again this evening at Pickerington North High School in the regional semifinal, one thing that's almost a certainty is it will be a good, close basketball game.
"We're looking for it to be real close. It's obviously a game that can go either way. Neither team is going to give up or go away," said Waterford girls' basketball coach Jerry Close.
Evenly matched on the court this season, the winner of the third game between the two schools will advance to the regional final on Saturday.
Waterford advanced to the regional semifinal by virtue of a 69-43 victory over Portsmouth Notre Dame in the district final at the OU Convocation Center last week. Eastern, meanwhile, advanced to the regional semi with a 64-26 victory over Portsmouth Clay in the other district final.
Having split the two meetings during the regular season, both teams have reason to enter tonight's contest with confidence.
Waterford has been to the regional tournament six straight times and on three separate occasions the Lady Wildcats have lost to the eventual Ohio Div. IV state champions. Included in that list is a loss to Columbus Harvest Prep last year, and that school is now under investigation by the OHSAA for potential rules violations according to The Columbus Dispatch.
Eastern, which has never won a regional tournament game in three appearances, still has reason to be confident as the Lady Eagles are playing a familiar opponent in a league foe they have already beaten once this year.
"I think the experience is always a good thing. However, I think Eastern playing us is a benefit to them that they're not seeing somebody else on the big stage," Close said.
The two teams feature some of southeast Ohio's best players as Waterford senior Kim Barker and Eastern freshman Jenna Burdette shared the Southeast District Div. IV Player of the Year award.
In the game between the two schools at Waterford on Feb. 5 Burdette scored 37 points but couldn't help the Lady Eagles overcome Waterford's ability to get to the free throw line.
Waterford converted on 33-of-40 attempts from the free throw line in that game while Eastern attempted just 12 shots from the charity stripe.
And it wasn't for lack of trying that Eastern didn't get to the foul line. The Lady Eagles simply got by the Waterford defense too easily.
"That (foul shot disparity) is because they went right by us and we couldn't foul them. They had clean layups and we couldn't get to them," Close lamented.
Keeping Eastern from repeating that will be a crucial factor for the Lady Wildcats and it's not an easy challenge.
Along with Burdette, the Lady Eagles have a talented point guard in senior Emeri Connery who creates shots for her teammates.
"Connery does a really nice job of finding people, of sucking people in and then kicking it back out. When they're knocking down shots they're a really good team," Close said.
Eliminating Eastern's ability to get into the paint will help Waterford keep the Lady Eagles from enjoying quite so much success on offense.
Both teams like to get the ball upcourt quickly in transition, so keeping one aspect of the offensive game plan away from the opponent should help keep the points to a more manageable output.
"We've got to limit their shots," Close said. "You can't let them score 70 points again and expect to win."
With both teams having a solid starting five, bench play could be another crucial factor.
Close believes his team will need key minutes from reserves like Olivia Sprague, Chelsey Paxton, Alicia Donahue and Hannah Dailey among others, as a big factor.
"We're going to need big minutes out of some of them," Close said.
The winner of tonight's game will face the winner of the Columbus Harvest Prep and Mansfield St. Peter in the regional final on Saturday.
Of the last seven state champions in Div. IV, five of them have come out of the Pickerington regional.
Game time for tonight's regional semifinal is slated for approximately 8 p.m. following the conclusion of the Harvest Prep and St. Peter game.
"It's going to be a chess match. It's going to be who can do what, who can execute their game plan the best," Close said.