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Examiner
  • Pats fall just short against Tigers

  • Despite a gut-wrenching one-point loss Tuesday night at Lee's Summit High School, Truman coach Billy Guinnee and his never-say-die Patriots walked off the court following the Tigers' 69-68 victory with their heads held high.

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  • Despite a gut-wrenching one-point loss Tuesday night at Lee's Summit High School, Truman coach Billy Guinnee and his never-say-die Patriots walked off the court following the Tigers' 69-68 victory with their heads held high.
    “The guys showed me a lot tonight,” said Guinnee, whose Patriots trimmed a seven-point deficit to just three in the closing seconds of the game. “We had the ball with 4.2 seconds left and managed to get off a shot.
    “The way Lee's Summit shot in the first half (75 percent from the 3-point line), we were fortunate that Lane Titus played the way he did or we might have trailed by 20 points.”
    Titus scored 23 of his game-high and career-best 31 points in the first half as the Patriots went into the locker room trailing 39-33.
    “We battled all the way,” Titus said. “They shot lights out the first half and we managed to come back and make a game out of it. I'm proud of the way we played. I wish we'd have won, but I'm still proud.”
    Sophomore guard Dwayne Thornton turned into a one-man Tiger wrecking crew in the final minute of the game as he came up with a big steal, hit a layup and was fouled. He made the free throw to cut the deficit to 68-66 with 13 seconds left.
    Drew Lock, who was 4-for-4 from the 3-point line in the first half, was then fouled and hit one of two free throws to make it a 69-66 game with 11.9 seconds left.
    Thornton took the ball down the court for the Patriots, sliced through three Tiger defenders and hit a layup, and again, he was fouled.
    This time, he missed the free throw, but Lee's Summit's Alex Evans was fouled and missed both free throws to give the Patriots a final chance at a dramatic comeback win.
    Tom Ruddy drove the length of the court, but with Evans in his face, his long 3-point shot fell short and the Tigers improved to 5-5 overall and won their second game in a row in the new year.
    “I thought (Thornton) did a great job for Billy tonight,” Lee's Summit coach Keith Miller said. “He turned the game around at the end. When he missed the free throw, I thought we had a little breathing room, then Alex misses both free throws and they have another chance to win it.
    “Alex did a nice job defensively at the end, and managed to alter the shot without fouling (Ruddy).”
    “Billy's kids always come ready to play. Titus had the big first half and (Thornton) really did well in the fourth quarter. We came into the new year 3-5 and now we're at .500 so we can build on these last two wins.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Ironically, free-throw shooting allowed the Tigers to maintain their lead in the fourth quarter, as they hit the first eight attempts. But they hit just three of their final six attempts to allow the Patriots to close the gap.
    “This is one you learn from,” Guinnee said. “Dwayne is a tough kid and he's going to come back from this just fine. He played a great game, so did Lane. And all the guys worked hard out there.”
    Thorton finished with 22 points and he and Titus combined for 53 of the Patriots’ 68 points.
    Truman won the junior varsity game 55-45.
     
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