COLUMBIA — A Chance Johnson attempt from half court at the buzzer hit the front rim, as Camdenton beat Smith-Cotton 46-43 in the first round of the Class 5, District 9 tournament on Monday at Hickman High School.
The shot came after Camdenton’s Ryan Elliott stole the inbounds pass on the Tigers’ previous possession, preventing Smith-Cotton from getting a shot off. Elliott then missed a free throw with 1.8 seconds left, giving Smith-Cotton one last shot.
In the game Smith-Cotton rallied from 10 points down in the third quarter to cut the lead to one, then rallied from eight down to get to within two in the fourth but couldn't pull even.
"I saw resiliency," said Smith-Cotton coach Ray Hughes. "We got down a little bit but they didn't get down, and put ourselves into an opportunity to tie the ballgame. We just weren't able to execute as well as we wanted down the stretch."
The Tigers hit 9 of 18 from the field in the second half and 3 of 7 from 3-point range.
"Those were the same looks were were getting in the first half, we just hit a couple more 3's," Hughes said. "Our big guys played a little more physical."
Dalton Zaremba had 11 points for Smith-Cotton.
"He's not afraid of the moment," Hughes said. "He makes some freshman mistakes, but everyone does. I was really pleased with my freshmen, with their poise."
Johnson had 10 and Ritzert nine.
The Tigers got off to a hot start, jumping out to a 13-8 lead on the strength of a pair of baskets from Zaremba and 3-pointers from Ritzert and Johnson.
But Camdenton got a 3-pointer from Johnathan Hyde late in the first quarter and a jumper from Branden Carlock early in the second to tie the game at 13. Smith-Cotton’s offense struggled in the second quarter as Camdenton took a 20-15 lead before Ritzert ended the Lakers’ 12-2 run with a jumper.
Camdenton extended the lead to eight when Carlock converted a 3-point play to make it 25-19 and Elliott got a putback to make it 27-19 before Zaremba hit a layup to beat the second-quarter buzzer to make it 27-21 Lakers.
Camdenton pushed the lead out to 10 points early in the third quarter before Smith-Cotton went on a 9-0 run. Dalton Christian charged down the lane for a pair of baskets and Zach Wolf hit a putback before Johnson followed with a 3-pointer.
Camdenton followed that with a 10-2 run to take an eight point lead early in the fourth before Smith-Cotton again rallied. Zaremba and Ritzert hit 3-pointers to cut the lead to 43-41, but Smith-Cotton got no closer.
The Tigers finish the season 7-15.