The game began with a lighthearted moment when Blue Springs South boys basketball coach Jimmy Cain sent all six seniors out on the floor at the beginning of the Senior Night contest against Rockhurst.
The officials and Rockhurst coach Pete Campbell were in on the joke, so no technical was called and the game began with senior Jared Ravencamp walking over to the bench while seniors D.J. Hyde, Ethan Swanegan, D.J. Frost, Chris Walker and Jack Gillig remained on the court.
By the time the double overtime thriller came to an end, and Rockhurst eked out a 69-68 win on a free throw by Xavier Rhodes with just 3.5 seconds left, many Jaguars fans were talking about freshman Jaylon McDaniel, who took the game over in the second half.
Battling 6-foot-5 Darrius Hughes and 6-6 Dalen Ridgnal most of the game, McDaniel scored 11 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and two overtime periods.
His layup at the buzzer of the first overtime period tied it 61-all and he had a big layup and free throw that kept the Jaguars alive in the second overtime period.
“This is the game I’ve been waiting for,” the 6-6 McDaniel said. “We all wanted to win for our seniors, and even though we didn’t win, we played hard. We had to make some comebacks in the game, and we worked so hard.
“We can take a lot of positives from this loss. They’re a good team, and we gave them everything we had.”
Hyde, whose 3-pointer in the first overtime allowed McDaniel to make his dramatic layup, said the Jaguars are such a tight-knit group that a tough loss will not cause any dissension late in the season.
“First, we’re a family,” said Hyde, who finished with eight points. “We can take a lot of positives from this game. You’re not going to see any finger pointing or anyone saying, ‘You messed up.’ We’ve lost some close games this year, and while we would have loved to win on Senior Night, we can take the good things from this and build on them for the rest of the season.”
A 20-point Rockhurst second quarter helped the Hawlets overcome a 17-11 deficit after the first period and take a 31-27 lead into halftime.
“We did not play well in the second quarter, and that was something we talked about at the half,” Cain said. “We played much, much better in the second half.
“And everyone contributed. I was really proud of all our seniors and Jaylon was just tremendous late in the game. He had some big baskets and played well defensively, too.”
Ravencamp, who had four points in the second overtime period, finished with a game-high 24 points.
Rockhurst’s Rhodes was fouled with less than four seconds left in the game and hit his first free throw to make the score 69-68. He missed the second attempt but grabbed the rebound and managed to get it to Hughes as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
Hughes led the Hawklets with 18 points.