COLUMBIA — Fr. Tolton Regional Catholic High School freshman Isaiah Wilson caught the ball deep in the right corner with 10 seconds left in the game. He squared up for the shot and let it fly.
It fell short, clanging off the front of the rim, and Tolton lost 77-74 to the Iberia High School Rangers in the MFA Oil-Break Time Shootout.
But the first quarter, not Wilson's miss, cost Tolton (10-4) the game.
Tolton coach Tyler Clark used his first full timeout five minutes into the game. He was irate.
“We have to get back on D!” he screamed as his players ran back to the huddle.
The Trailblazers were 10 points behind at the time. Their leading scorer, freshman Michael Porter Jr., was scoreless.
The only Tolton player who managed to put the ball in the hoop in the first six minutes was junior Josh Boyer, who scored Tolton’s first eight points.
All the little things went wrong early. Errant passes flew into the hands of Iberia (14-1) players. Players stepped on the sideline. Layups rattled off the rim.
Boyer said pressure from playing in Mizzou Arena might have played a part in the Trailblazer’s slow first quarter.
“It’s a big place," Boyer said. "You see the back of the backboard and seats going way up behind it. We have a few freshman on the team, and they have to get used to it."
There are no seniors on Tolton’s roster, and the Trailblazers have only had a varsity team for two years.
After the first eight minutes, Tolton found its legs. Led by 34 points from Porter, Tolton managed to make it a one-possession game in the waning seconds.
Clark said he was proud of his team's effort. He said even though his team is young, it has the leaders to stay in a game like Sunday's.
“Josh Boyer played his heart out,” Clark said. “All our juniors are leaders. They played hard.”
But Tolton’s juniors couldn’t top Iberia’s seniors, including Darrien Dickey, who broke the all time MFA Oil-Break Time Shootout scoring record with 39 points in the Rangers’ victory.
“Oh my gosh, he was a ridiculous player,” Boyer said. “Like, I tried everything I could to stop that guy. We tried to focus in on him, and we just couldn’t shut him down.”
Boyer said he wouldn’t let the loss get him or his team down. It’s straight back to work for the Trailblazers.
And, Boyer said, if they came across Iberia and Dickey again, they would be ready from the opening tip.
“If we see him in the playoffs, we’re definitely going to focus on making sure to shut him down,” Boyer said.