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Jaguars fend off Trojans for upset win

By Cody Thorn
The Examiner

Devin Tomlinson just finished an interview when he saw Park Hill’s Nyk Bryant start walking out of the Trojans’ gymnasium.

The Blue Springs South standout walked over to talk to Bryant after the two became focal points in the final seconds in Tuesday night's game. 

Tomlinson ended up hitting what was the game-winning shot with 10 seconds left in a 69-68 victory, helping the Jaguars upset the Class 6 No. 4-ranked Trojans. Bryant missed two free throws that could've given Park Hill the victory. 

Park Hill called a timeout with 7.6 seconds and Bryant got the ball and drove to the lane. He missed the basket but went to the line with 0.7 seconds left.

Before he shot either attempt, Blue Springs South coach Josh Smith called a timeout to talk with his squad. The message was simple, if Bryant missed, don’t give up a tip-in at the buzzer.

If Bryant made both shots, that would be a mute point. 

The senior missed the first and then the second one rimmed out and that ended the game. Tomlinson made a dash toward the Blue Springs South bench to celebrate the win.

“I was happy, shocked, I didn’t know what to feel when it rimmed out,” Tomlinson, who finished with 21 points, said of the final shot by Bryant, a three-year starter like Tomlinson. “I can’t take anything away from Nyk. He is a great, great player and he has been a problem for a few years. I can’t take anything away from him.”

The Jaguars (8-6, 5-1 Suburban Big Eight) held the lead for the majority of the game, going ahead on a 3-pointer by Wesley Schneider at the 6-minute mark in the first quarter.

Blue Springs South held the lead at the end of each quarter, but actually fell behind late in the fourth quarter, which featured a combined 37 points.

The Jaguars took a 53-47 lead into the final period but Park Hill (10-2, 5-1) quickly pulled within a basket behind a 6-2 run – which included three missed free throws in that span.

With the lead down to a possession, Quinton Robertson scored on a layup in transition off a missed free throw, and Ty Mauck knocked down two free throws. The senior forward hit four more free throws, both times giving Blue Springs South some breathing room. His third and fourth conversions came with 3:06 left, making it 65-61.

The Trojans, whose only loss prior to Tuesday was to Class 3 No. 2 Springfield Greenwood, tied it at 65 on a 3-pointer by Anthony Hall with 2:36 left. Mauck went to the line 12 seconds later to give the Jaguars the lead again.

It was short-lived as sophomore Marqueas Bell got a steal and layup – also drawing a foul – to tie the game at 67 with 1:16 left. Bell then made the free-throw attempt to give the Trojans the lead for the first time since Hall’s 3-pointer in the first minute of the contest.

Blue Springs South then missed a shot and was forced to foul. With 30.9 seconds left, Sammy Hall went to the line but missed both. That set up what turned out to the game-winning possession.

Tomlinson hit a pull-up jumper in front of the Jaguars’ bench. Park Hill dribbled the ball past halfcourt before coach Chad Jones called a timeout with 7.6 seconds left to set up the final sequence.

“I think we have shown throughout the season, on different nights, we are capable of competing with anyone,” Smith said. “Our issue is we haven’t done it consistently for the most part. Give credit to Park Hill, they are unbelievable. They are fast and athletic and hard to guard. Bottom line is we found enough plays to win.”

Tomlinson finished with five 3-pointers. He had two treys in the first quarter and his final 3-pointer gave the Jaguars a 46-34 lead early in the third quarter. He made a basket with 3:40 left and then the one with 10 seconds left for his final four points. 

“Devin is a kid with a lot of experience and he has made a lot of big shots,” Smith said. “He is not afraid to take the big shot. It was really neat to see him do that in a game like this.”

The star of the second quarter was junior guard Sonny McCreary, who scored seven of his nine points to help the Jaguars take a 39-32 lead at the break.

Mauck had 19 points and made all eight of his free-throw attempts in the second half.

Park Hill had three players in double figures, led by Bell, who had 22 points. Anthony Hall had 17 – he also hit five 3-pointers – and Bryant finished with 10.

The Jaguars travel to rival Blue Springs on Friday for another Suburban Big Eight game. Blue Springs South has won six of the past 10 games against the Wildcats, but Blue Springs has won the last four.