COLUMBIA – In the Class 5, District 9 boys basketball semifinals at Rock Bridge High School, Hickman (22-2) escaped Camdenton (14-12) in overtime, 60-59.
The Kewpies came out flat, and that didn't change much throughout the game.
"It wasn't pretty," coach David Johnson said. "We didn't have the energy, which was very unusual."
Camdenton raced to a 28-23 lead with seconds left in the first half. Hickman senior Chris Clark weaved around defenders and drained a half-court, buzzer-beating 3-pointer to bring the margin to two points at halftime. He finished the game with 19 points.
Both teams stayed in their locker rooms awhile and began play right after the break without warming up.
As the fourth quarter began, Hickman star junior Jimmy Whitt tried to take over the game, as he has proved to be capable of doing in close matchups. His teammates gave him the ball, but Whitt couldn’t get his shots to fall, scoring only two points in the fourth quarter.
With the game tied at 55 points with 8.1 seconds left in regulation play, Camdenton called a timeout. The Lakers wanted to hold for the final shot.
Instead, Whitt took over in a different way. He reached around the ballhandler and poked the ball out.
There was a scramble to corral the loose ball, but neither team managed to put up a shot.
The Lakers wouldn’t go away, exchanging leads until finally clinging to a 59-58 advantage in overtime. Hickman had the ball with 20 seconds left. Anyone familiar with this Kewpies team knew Whitt would take the final shot.
“My teammates have confidence to keep giving me the ball even if I’m not playing my best,” Whitt said. “So I’m going to have confidence to keep shooting.”
With Kansas State coach Bruce Weber looking on, the Hickman star took the ball from Clark. He drove left but ran into two defenders. Whitt spun around and lofted a one-handed floater at the basket. It bounced off the rim, then the backboard, and with 8.7 seconds left, it dropped in.
Camdenton put up a long 3-pointer at the buzzer that missed, and the Kewpies survived. Hickman will play in the district finals against Jefferson City (14-11) at 7 p.m. Friday at Rock Bridge. The Jays took down Hickman rival Rock Bridge 74-62 in the semifinals Tuesday.
After the Laker 3-pointer was off the mark and the buzzer sounded, Whitt looked toward the scoreboard, but at nothing in particular, and shook his head. He was clearly displeased with his own 13-point performance, and that of his teams.
The Kewpies have a chance to make up for it Frriday.
“That won’t happen again,” he said.