A third stole their thunder.
After each team thought it delivered a potential game-winning basket earlier in the game, Olathe East senior Bret Cook buried a short runner off the glass in double overtime and lifted the Hawks to a 73-71 victory Saturday in the Hy-Vee Shootout at Avila University.
Raytown South guard Robert Hunt’s last-second heave banked off the backboard.
With 13 seconds remaining in the initial overtime, Olathe East point guard Tez Scroggins drove to the basket for a layup, forcing the second five-minute period.
His opposing floor general, Raytown South’s JC Johnson, nearly provided a dramatic finish seconds later, but he watched his three-point attempt roll across the rim.
“You just get attached to a game like that, and you don’t want to lose no matter what,” Scroggins said. “Kind of don’t want the game to end.”
Scroggins ensured there would be an extra five minutes — a double-overtime period in which Olathe East, 4-1, took a quick five-point advantage before Johnson scored five in a row and tied the game.
Cook answered with his game-winner 20 seconds later, spoiling an improbable comeback from Ray South with its leading scorer on the bench.
The Cardinals, who fell to 2-3, played the final four minutes of regulation and both overtime periods without sophomore Tyrone Gibbs, who scored 27 points before leaving the game because of cramps in his legs.
Raytown South marched on without him. Samson Tucker tied the game on a jumper with 13 seconds remaining in regulation — negating Scroggins’ first potential game-winner a minute earlier — and the Cardinals took their initial lead of the game in the ensuing overtime.
Johnson, who scored all 18 of his points after the first quarter, had an open look at his game-winning three from the left wing.
“Looked like it was going in,” Johnson said.
SM East 59
Rock Bridge 58
Three dribbles. Pause. Deep breath. Shot.
Shawnee Mission East senior Vance Wentz never broke away from his routine.
After missing the front end of two free throws, Wentz swished the second with 4.3 seconds remaining against Columbia Rock Bridge, keeping Shawnee Mission East perfect at 5-0 this season.
The first one “just rolled out, but I wasn’t worried,” Wentz insisted. “I practice free throws all the time, so I had confidence in myself.”
A game-winning shot — even one from the free-throw line — provided a fitting end to a physical game in which neither team led by more than three points.
“It was a battle — that was a great ballclub,” SM East coach Shawn Hair said. “To be in a battle like that in December is great for us, and hopefully it helps in January, February and March.”
St. Thomas Aquinas 53 Ruskin 44
St. Thomas Aquinas players Owen Sherlock, Gavin Manley and Joey Radetic refer to themselves as “The Big Three,” but it hasn’t quite caught on yet with their teammates. That’s likely because they’re not the typical basketball trio of superstars that fits the oft-used nickname.
For the three St. Thomas Aquinas seniors, the meaning is a little more literal. Sherlock, Manley and Radetic stand 6 feet 5, 6-5 and 6-4.
The Big Three was, well, big on Saturday morning. They combined for 39 points and 23 rebounds in a 53-44 victory against Ruskin.
“We feel like we’re the force of the team,” said Manley, who posted a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, helping the Saints improve to 3-1. “We crash the boards and get after it on offense.”
Ruskin guard Tayron Holden had a game-high 24 points thanks to five three-pointers.
St. James Academy 38 Raytown 21
St. James Academy senior Tom Huppe estimated he had missed 18 consecutive three-pointers before Saturday morning’s game against Raytown.
Nevertheless, when he saw Raytown open the game in a zone, he thought he was in store for a breakout performance.
He was right. Huppe busted out of his shooting slump, knocking down three shots from long distance and helping the Thunder derail Raytown’s zone defense from the perimeter. St. James made seven of 15 three-point shots.
“I haven’t been finding my shot, so it felt really good to get it back,” said Huppe, who finished with a game-high 11 points. “I’ve been struggling. I just haven’t been shooting it with confidence.”