Zachariah Rowe could have settled things earlier with one more free throw. That he didn’t made it all the more sweeter when he did.
Given a second chance to deliver William Chrisman a victory Friday night, Rowe came through, driving for a basket with 1.7 seconds left in overtime to finish off a wild 55-53 victory over Deer Creek of Edmond, Okla., in the semifinals of the Phog Allen Invitational at Chrisman.
Rowe, a 5-foot-11 senior guard, missed the second of two free throws with 4.8 seconds left in regulation and the game tied 46-46. After Deer Creek (2-1) missed two free throws with 52 seconds left in overtime, Rowe had the ball in his hands again with the game on the line.
Chrisman held the ball until the final seconds, when Rowe slashed the lane with a floater that bounced in just before the buzzer.
“I knew I had to come back and make it up,” Rowe said. “My teammates trusted in me, got me the ball and I knocked the shot down.”
The basket capped a team-leading 22-point night for Rowe, and Chrisman (3-0) needed every one of those points to overcome a scrappy Deer Creek team. Chrisman raced out to a 20-7 first-quarter lead and looked to be rolling, but then everything went suddenly wrong.
Chrisman made only 1 of 14 shots in the second quarter. Marcus Wigfall, one of the Bears’ senior leaders and top scorers, had three fouls by halftime, as did Rowe.
And Jerry Tullis, Deer Creek’s 5-foot-11 senior point guard, caught fire. Tullis hit four 3-pointers in the second half and 9 of 13 free throws for 28 points.
“Our scouting report said if you stop (Tullis), you stop that team,” Chrisman coach Jake Kates said. “We weren’t able to do that.”
Rowe had the hot hand early as he scored six points in the first quarter. Chrisman’s defense forced six Deer Creek turnovers, and all seemed well for the Bears.
Until they went three minutes before scoring a point in the second quarter. Deer Creek went on a 10-0 run, and Chrisman was clinging to a 26-22 lead by halftime.
“We relaxed,” Rowe said. “We took our foot off the pedal for a little bit, let them go on the run. We started to play their game.”
Added Kates: “We still got good looks. But once we missed three or four in a row, you’ve got to get a great look. And we didn’t do that tonight.”
Tullis was getting great looks, and he hit a pair of threes late in the second quarter as Deer Creek took a 35-32 lead. Chrisman led 36-35 at the end of the period, but Tullis struck for two more threes in the fourth period and put the Antlers up 43-39.
Deer Creek led 46-45 when Rowe drew a foul in the lane with 4.8 seconds left in regulation. He swished the game-tying shot but missed the second after a Deer Creek timeout.
He would soon get his chance to make good.
“He’s not afraid of any situation,” Kates said. “He wanted the ball, so we gave it to him. He’s our bulldog and we’re proud of the way he finished that game. He hit a tough shot.”
Isaiah Jackson scored 16 points for Chrisman, which will meet Noland Road rival Truman, a winner over Lutheran North in the late semifinal, at 2:30 this afternoon in the championship game.
LEE’S SUMMIT NORTH 78, CAMDENTON 58: Lee’s Summit North had little trouble getting its first victory of the season in the consolation semifinals.
Jeremy Moore scored 20 points and Hayden Cole added 15 points with three three-pointers for Lee’s Summit North. The Broncos (1-2) will play KC-Central for fifth place at 11:30 a.m. today.