Sitting in the window of William Chrisman coach Jake Kates’ office are three runner-up tournament trophies from last season. They serve as a vivid reminder of one of the Bears’ goals for this basketball season.
“Those plaques are in the window of my office facing out into the locker room,” Kates said. “Our goal is to replace those one at a time.”
One down, two to go.
William Chrisman is the champion of the Phog Allen Invitational, the event Kates started at the school last season. After taking the title with a wild 50-48 overtime victory over Noland Road rival Truman Saturday afternoon in a noisy and packed gym, Kates wasted no time in altering his window display.
“When we got in the locker room, I tossed last year’s (plaque) to Zacharaiah Rowe and said, ‘You can do with this whatever you want,” Kates said. “He walked over and put it in the trash can and we put the first place trophy up.”
Rowe certainly earned that honor after hitting a game-winning buzzer beater in overtime the night before against Edmond (Okla.) Deer Creek in the semifinals. Against Truman, it was Isaiah Jackson’s turn to be the hero. His basket from the top of the key at the buzzer settled a back-and-forth contest after five ties and seven lead changes.
“I’ve got guys who want the basketball but are happy to see their teammates take the last shot too,” Kates said. “It’s a weird combination, but it’s part of playing together since third grade. They know and they trust each other.”
Chrisman (4-0) tried to hold the ball with 1 minute, 40 seconds left in overtime and the score tied 48-48. Truman got another shot after Marcus Wigfall missed on a drive, but couldn’t convert.
Junior forward Alex Atagi grabbed the rebound, and the Bears cleared out a wide-open shot for Jackson, who swished it right as the buzzer sounded.
“We work on late-game situations all the time,” said Jackson, a senior who led Chrisman with 18 points. The guys set me up and I was calm and I knocked it down.”
Kates decided to take the air out of the ball when Truman went to a zone defense during overtime.
“We didn’t handle the ball very well down the stretch,” Kates said. “But we were able to get a stop and come back down and we were going to give Isaiah the basketball with a chance to win. If they were going to give us the last shot, we were going to take it.”
After a 10-10 first-quarter tie, Truman (2-1) went on an 8-2 run for a 20-13 lead midway through the second quarter. Patriots forward Jeilel Phillips worked inside for four of his team-high 17 points during the stretch.
Chrisman responded with the first of two turnover-fueled spurts that kept the Bears ahead most of the second and third quarters. Three transition baskets sparked a 9-0 run in the second quarter for a 22-20 halftime lead.
When Truman tied the score 25-25 early in the third quarter, Chrisman went on a 10-2 run that Rowe, who finished with 12 points, started with a 3-pointer and ended with a layoff off a turnover for a 35-27 lead.
“That’s where we’re going to have to get things done is the defensive end,” Kates said. “We didn’t shoot the ball very well today, but the defense led to transition baskets and that you can take anywhere.”
It took Chrisman to a 44-35 lead before Truman started battling back midway through the fourth quarter. A three by Phillips cut the lead 46-44 with 54 seconds left in regulation, and the Patriots had the ball with 8.6 seconds left.
Chrisman got it right back when Truman guard Cam Robbins was whistled for traveling, but Chrisman’s Zach Fashing made an errant pass that gave Truman’s Sam Billimon a chance to score in the final seconds. Billimon was fouled by Alex Calhoun as he drove the lane, and his two free throws with 1.7 seconds left sent the game to overtime.
“Those are things we’re going to learn from,” Kates said. “At the end of regulation I told them guys you didn’t do very well right there, but you’re going to have another chance to do it in four minutes. And we did.”
And then they got to swap out a second-place trophy. Chrisman, which lost to Lee’s Summit North by a point in the inaugural Phog Allen final, will get a crack at making amends in the Kaminsky Classic in Joplin and the Summit Grill Shootout in Lee’s Summit later this season.
“That’s one of our main goals this year is to win every tournament,” Jackson said. “And go 1-0 every day.”
Jackson and Rowe were both selected to the all-tournament team along with Truman’s Kaimen Lennox, who finished with 13 points. Wigfall was also in double figures with 11 points.
BRONCOS TAKE SIXTH: Lee’s Summit North finished in sixth place after falling to Kansas City Central 56-52 in the consolation final.
Dayne Davis scored 23 points with five three-pointers to lead North (1-3).