When the final buzzer sounded, students in the William Chrisman High School gymnasium had plenty to cheer about.
"Bears students and teachers," the public address announcer said Monday night, "you don’t have to show up for school tomorrow!"
The gym erupted.
It was one of the few moments Chrisman basketball fans had to cheer as Raytown’s Kyessence Collins hit a baseline layup with seven seconds left in the game to lead the Blue Jays to a come-from-behind 38-36 victory over coach Lindsay Thompson’s Bears.
The win ended a five-game losing streak for Raytown, as the Blue Jays improved to 8-8 overall and 3-2 in the Suburban Middle Seven. The Bears fell to 8-10 and 3-3.
Things looked bright for the Bears as they scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to take a 29-22 lead. Makenzie Erikson opened the fourth quarter with a long-range 3-pointer and Rachel Losch followed with a layup give the Bears some momentum.
"We looked so good early in the fourth quarter, then, I don’t know what happened," said Erikson, who led the Bears with 12 points. "We turned the ball over, we made mistakes, we lost the game because of a lot of mental mistakes.
"A loss like this is hard. I thought we were going to win this game, but we didn’t. You don’t want to play like this, this late in the season."
Following the game, Thompson had a long talk with her team at midcourt.
"We made November mistakes in February, and that’s not acceptable," Thompson said. "We threw the ball away – empty possession. We turned the ball over – empty possession. We made a mental mistake – empty possession.
"Time after time this season, I have talked to the girls after a game – win or lose – and told them they worked hard and I was proud of them. But not tonight.
"This might be the worst game we’ve played since November. Raytown has a nice team, a young team with a lot of talent, but we didn’t play the way we’re capable of playing and that’s why I am so disappointed."
The Bears trailed 6-0 early in the game but used a late burst of offense to take a slim 11-10 lead into the second period.
Chrisman then held the Blue Jays to single digits and took a 19-15 lead into halftime.
Raytown trailed by two (24-22) going into the final eight minutes and later 29-22 before Collins took control of the game.
She hit a layup at 3:25 to knot the score at 33-all and then scored the game-winner as the Blue Jays ran nearly 1:30 off the clock to take the final shot.
The Bears attempted a desperation inbounds pass, but Collins picked it off and dribbled around two Bears to run out the clock.
Collins finished with 11 points, scoring nine points in the fourth quarter. Raytown’s Ashley Harvey led all scorers with 16 points.
Raytown used four late free throws to claim a 41-38 win in the junior varsity game.