Even after a controversial non-goaltending call by the referees resulted in four free throws and possession for Park Hill, Fort Osage still had an excellent opportunity to win Wednesday’s first-round game of the William Jewell Holiday Classic Nelson Division bracket.
With Fort Osage up 45-44 and about three minutes left, Indian guard Nick Dye put up a fastbreak layup following a steal from Cahleel Smith and a pass from Ky’Von Smith. Right after Dye’s shot appeared to hit the glass, Trojan forward Cecil Lee rejected the shot, which normally would be called goaltending, awarding Fort Osage two points.
It was not called and that drew the ire of the Fort Osage fans, the bench and Ky’Von Smith, who was hit with a personal foul and a technical foul. The Trojans’ Ronnie Bell and Haden Wallace sank two free throws each to put their team up 48-45.
Even after the five-point swing, the Indians stormed back and had a 53-48 lead with 1:28 left in regulation. However, the Trojans tied it to force overtime and dominated the extra session to take a 68-63 decision at the Mabee Center at William Jewell College.
“It was a big moment, but we came back, and took the lead” Wilson said of the missed goaltending call. “Our kids fought through the adversity. We were in command, but we turned the ball over and Ronnie Bell makes that shot.”
The Indians (1-6) had played excellent defense all game and used a 2-1-2 press to fluster the Trojans, forcing 20 turnovers and holding the opposition to 35.7 percent overall shooting from the floor.
Fort Osage had a 9-6 lead at the end of the first,and the game was tied at 20 at halftime before the Trojans took a 38-36 lead in the third. The goaltending no-call led to a three-point Park Hill lead. But after a Trojans turnover the Indians went on a 7-0 run, highlighted by Ty Baker’s three from the left corner and a conventional three-point play from guard Dez Griswold, who lead his team with 20 points, three assists and four steals.
Griswold later hit a pair of free throws to put his team ahead 53-48. On the ensuing possession, Bell missed a 3-pointer, but Wallace was there for the putback to bring his team within three. Bell came up with a steal on Fort Osage’s next possession and hit a pair of free throw to make it 53-52. Baker was fouled on the other end and made both foul shots to make it a three-point game again.
However, with time winding down in regulation, Bell was guarded one-on-one by Cahleel Smith. He was about 28-feet from the basket when Smith gave him a little bit of cushion. Bell, the Simone Award winner as a wide receiver for the football team, buried a deep three with 5.6 seconds left to tie it.
“He shot that one from about 34 feet away from the basket, with one of our guys right there,” Griswold said. “Sometimes you get them. Sometimes you don’t.”
Added Wilson: “I would rather our guys let him take a shot that far away from the basket than foul him and let them possibly get an offensive rebound (off a missed free throw). Everyone on our team played well. Even some of the guys who don’t get to play much.”
Smith had a good look at a jumper from the right elbow, but the shot bounced off the side of the rim, sending the game to overtime.
Bell, who had a game-high 31 points, scored six points during a 10-0 run to begin the extra session, as Fort Osage missed five consecutive shots and not overcome a 65-55 deficit.
“We played good defense, we just have to finish the game,” Griswold said. “We have to play the whole game good.”
The Indians will face Winnetonka in the consolation round of the Nelson bracket at 1:30 p.m. today.
Dye was the other Indian in double figures with 10 points, and Xavier Kahube added 10 rebounds.