They got outrebounded and committed a few more turnovers, but in crunch time the Fort Osage Indians got the shots they wanted and converted to escape Truman High School with a 65-60 win in Friday’s suburban cross-conference boys basketball battle.
The Indians had to overcome a six-point deficit early in the fourth quarter to improve to 2-0. Truman, which climbed out of a nine-point hole in the second quarter and scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to lead 52-46, fell to 0-2.
Sophomore Skylar Thompson, fresh off a state quarterfinal football campaign as the Indians quarterback, paced Fort Osage with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Half of Thompson’s rebounds came on the offensive end, and his driving basket that gave his team the lead for good with 1:22 to play.
“It was a very fast-paced game, and we knew that every single basket, every opportunity we had to capitalize on to beat them,” Thompson said. “We have each other’s backs through anything. When it comes time to make a play, we all have faith in each other that we can do it.”
The game featured 10 lead changes through three quarters. Truman trailed 46-45 entering the fourth, but a Michael Hernandez jumper and a 3-pointer and DeAndre Young’s transition hoop quickly had the Patriots up 52-46.
But the Will Penamon’s driving hoop and Thompson’s putback got the Indians back in it. Hernandez’s pull-up jumper led to a three-point play with 4:24 left, but Willie Penamon and Thompson stroked treys from the left side, the latter answering a Reid Titus 3-ball, to make it 58-56.
“The three Willie had from the corner was just monstrous,” Fort Osage coach Josh Wilson said, “and then Skylar after they hit one.”
Though his team still had the lead after that sequence, Truman coach Billy Guinnee said that stretch was a crucial reason the Patriots couldn’t get their first win.
“When we were in control of the game, we took two low-percentage quick shots and then didn’t get back on defense,” Guinnee said. “It turned the tide in about 30 seconds.”
Josh Alt and Will Penamon each canned a pair of free throws, the latter coming after a Willie Penamon steal, to produce the 12th lead change with 2:15 left. Titus’ high, sharp-angled one-hander from the baseline tied things at 60, but Thompson answered for the Indians.
After Willie Penamon rebounded Young’s miss at the other end, Will Penamon broke free and dished to Logan Haugmo for a backbreaking layup. Thompson’s rebound and free throw with 16 seconds remaining iced the game.
“You’d like to get the win and get a little confidence, but if you can’t win, you’d like to learn how to finish a game,” Guinnee said. “Sometimes it takes losing like that to learn a lesson.”
Hernandez’s 16 points led Truman, and Titus netted 15. Young (12 points) and Dewayne Thornton (8) snared nine rebounds apiece.
Will Penamon finished with 10 points to back Thompson, and six other Indians had between four and seven points – Haugmo with seven, Bailey Williamson six, Willie Penamon and Aron Green five each and Brian Starr and Alt four each.
“You can count on it, Billy always has his kids ready to go,” Wilson said. “They’re hard-nosed kids, and they’ll play their butts off.
“We had to weather the storm a couple times, but the big thing for us is being able to secure rebounds and go. We’ve got big guys that can run, and our guards can fly.”