For a stretch, it seemed like William Chrisman forward Dawson Herl couldn’t miss in Friday’s championship game of the Summit Grill Shootout against Raytown.
From late in the second quarter and into the third, Herl made eight consecutive shots, including six 3-pointers. After his team struggled in the first quarter, the senior put up 27 points in the second and third quarters combined and finished with 29.
However, Raytown took the ball out of Herl’s hands in the fourth, running him off the 3-point line and paying close attention to him on defense. The Blue Jays also made key plays down the stretch to capture a thrilling 69-66 win over the Bears at Lee’s Summit High School.
“That was a fun game,” Chrisman coach Jake Kates said. “We have four losses and three of the four have been by (a combined five points). We’ve got to figure out how to finish games. That’s something knew for us. We hadn’t been winning a whole lot (in previous years).
“The guys played really hard. Some of us had it today and some struggled a little bit. (Raytown) is good team and we get to play them against Tuesday.”
Chrisman went into the fourth quarter with a 56-55 lead largely due to the hot shooting of Herl and Alex Calhoun. The Bears got driving layups from Herl and Kelvyn Mason on their first two possessions to push the lead to 60-55.
The offense went cold from there, however, as they shot just 4 of 8 from the free-throw line, made 1 of 6 shots from the floor and had three turnovers in their last five possessions, allowing Raytown to make a comeback.
Midway through the final period, Raytown senior Desmond Hutson connected on a 3-pointer to cut Chrisman’s lead to 61-60. Isaiah Jackson hit one of two free throws to push the lead back to two, but Ayris Abdelnassar received a pass from Aubrey Martin. He caught it deep in the paint and got a Chrisman defender to bite on a head fake and finished the layup to tie it at 62.
After blocking a Chrisman shot on its next possession, the Blue Jays took the lead for good when CJ Johnson got Jalen Moore up in the air on a pump fake, made a layup and drew the foul, completing the three-point play with 3:21 left.
Jackson sank two free throws to slice Raytown’s advantage to one. Raytown later got a driving layup from Abdelnassar and a pair of free throws from Martin.
Meanwhile, Chrisman (12-4) had issues with missed free throws and turnovers. Its last possession resulted in a Blue Jay steal as senior Kelvyn Mason attempted to get a full-court baseball pass to Herl with 3.7 seconds left. Abdelnassar, though, came up with the ball to end it.
“Both teams were exhausted at the end,” Kates said. “Raytown had some nice post moves and got us on the head fakes. I am proud of our guys. We will learn from this and get better from it.”
Added Herl: “They sped us up and we didn’t do too good at the end. But we play them again Tuesday and we’re looking forward to getting another crack at them.”
Chrisman’s sluggish first quarter played a factor in the outcome. Raytown raced out to a 13-4 lead as the Bears struggled to get going offensively. A pair of threes from Calhoun helped Chrisman get back into it as he trimmed the lead to 16-10.
Raytown took a 20-13 into the second quarter and kept Chrisman at arm’s length for most of the period. However, after Raytown grabbed a 34-25 lead, the Bears connected on three consecutive treys, the last coming in transition from senior Tony Hilton to tie it at 34. The Blue Jays went on a 5-0 run to push their lead back to five, but Herl connected on the second of six straight 3-pointers to make it 39-37 Raytown at halftime.
Herl went off for 14 points in the third quarter, as his team shot 5 of 8 from behind the arc to take a one-point edge into the fourth. However, the Bears were unable to maintain that momentum for the rest of the game.
“Isaiah and Zachariah (Rowe) were great for us,” Herl said. “I was just hoped they would get to the rim and we would run around the 3-point line and get open for them to kick it out to us. When we were open, we knocked them down.”
Herl shot 10 of 15 from the field. Calhoun had 12 points on four 3-pointers and Jackson had eight. Moore tacked onto his Summit Grill Tournament record for most blocks with five, totaling 18 in three games. Ben Bryant led the Blue Jays with 22 points.
Jackson and Herl were named to the all-tournament team.