Lilly dissolved in tears Tuesday night after the sixth-ranked Xavier Saints trimmed 13th-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock, 42-38, in the regional finals to earn a trip to the Class 4A state tournament.
Lilly hugged long-time assistant coach and pal Stephanie Potts after the buzzer sounded in the intense ballgame and he needed his trademark blue towel to wipe away the tears.
"It's always a special moment," Lilly said after getting his emotions under control. "I just felt our seniors have given us so much this year.
"I knew that at the end of it, somebody was going to be extremely disappointed because it was very hard-fought, it was back and forth, neither team was going to given an inch.
"And we just happened to prevail with a 14-year-old," he said with a wry smile. That's pretty amazing on how that all works out."
Freshman Caitlynn Daniels is actually 15 now, but the rookie made two of the biggest plays in the game in the final minute with the state berth on the line.