Special to the Examiner
KEARNEY, Mo. — With less than 10 seconds to go, Dez Griswold drove to the basket for Fort Osage.
The senior guard went to the paint and drew two defenders and that set up what turned out to be the game-winning bucket by junior Ty Baker.
Griswold found Baker open on the block and with 8.8 seconds left, Baker made the layup off the glass to break a tie and give the Indians a 71-69 win against Kansas City Northeast in the opening round of the Kearney Bulldog Classic Tuesday at Kearney High School.
“It was a crazy game, going back-and-forth,” Baker said, who made his first game-winning shot. “Once we get going, we are hard to stop.”
The reward for the win for Fort Osage is a matchup on Thursday in the semifinals against Kearney, winners of the past two tournament titles.
The victory was the second straight for the Indians, improving their season mark to 4-7.
The win against Northeast was not an easy one by any means, despite leading 32-28 at the break.
After the third quarter, the Vikings had nudged ahead of the Indians and led 53-51 as offenses for both teams picked up scoring in bunches.
The third quarter featured eight lead changes after Fort Osage took a 36-31 lead following free throws from Griswold, who had a team-high 18 points.
A pair of free throws by Northeast's Vince Smith gave his team a 53-51 lead and gave him 11 points in the frame. Michael Peak, a 6-foot-6 center, added eight of his 21 points for the Vikings in the third.
The frenzied offensive attacks continued in the final priod. Baker, who had 14 points, tied the game at 53 with a basket, and then the next five baskets scored changed the leader on the scoreboard.
The Vikings went up by four midway through the quarter, but a 3-pointer by Baker pulled the Indians within a point. Fort Osage later took a 69-66 lead on Griswold's layup, but a 3-pointer Jamal Spriggs – his fourth of the game – tied it at 69 with 2:19 left. Spriggs finished with a game-high 25 points.
“They are very good,” Fort Osage coach Josh Wilson said. “They can shoot the ball. We had limited film on them, but we haven't seen them shoot the ball well. We knew coming nt would be a test and it was.”
Neither team scored again until Baker's layup, which came as a result of Northeast playing a box-and-1 on Griswold, leaving someone open down low on multiple occasions.
“I knew we could score, my biggest question was if we could get a stop on them,” Wilson said.
Northeast had the ball, but had its initial shot blocked. With 2.5 seconds left, the Vikings got the ball back one more time, but they missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Nick Dye added 12 and Tristan Turner scored 10 for Fort Osage, giving it four players in double figures.
WILLIAM CHRISMAN 78, PLATTE COUNTY 74 (OT): Tied at 62 at the end of regulation, Chrisman got seven points from Tony Hilton to rally past Platte County in another opening round game of the Kearney Bulldog Classic.
Hilton had 14 points and came out hitting a 3-pointer in overtime and then added two more buckets. Isaiah Jackson, who also had 14 points, scored five points in overtime for the Bears.
Wigfall scored fa team-high 18 points for the Bears (6-5), 11 coming between the fourth and overtime periods.
Deiondre Ragsdale had a game-high 25 points for Platte County, which has lost five straight. Ragsdale was limited to two points in overtime.