It may be a courtwarming the Smith-Cotton Tigers will never forget.
S-C held the ball for the final 2:19 seconds of the game until Nick Thompson drove from the top of the key and made a layup with 5.5 seconds left, as Smith Cotton pulled off a 46-44 upset victory over Warrensburg.
Warrensburg could only muster two field goals in the second half while Smith-Cotton made big shots down to stretch to win.
“This is a great win for us,” said Smith-Cotton coach Jimmy Lincoln. “We are now two weeks away from districts. We just beat a team that beat the No. 1 seed in our district and our kids are starting to get that confidence. The excitement is just unbelievable.”
The rivalry game started as many would have guessed — with both teams swapping points. Warrensburg crept out to a 16-8 lead after a pair of free throws by Wes Fritz.
Smith-Cotton’s Bryce Rohrer answered with one of his four 3-pointers as the first quarter buzzer sounded, cutting the deficit to 16-11.
Warrensburg standout Jarad Askren began to heat up in the second quarter as Warrensburg began to pound the ball inside to its 6-foot-7 post player. Askren made three baskets in a row for his team, but Smith-Cotton had an answer each time.
Rohrer again made a 3-pointer at the 5:41 mark of the second quarter, pulling his team to within six points at 22-16.
Both teams swapped scoring possessions throughout the middle of the second and the half ended 33-29 in favor of Warrensburg.
“When we were only down four at halftime, we felt pretty good,” Lincoln said. “It’s a two-possession game and then boom, its tied. Then it became a ballgame.”
Smith-Cotton’s defense improved in the second half as it went to a zone with the idea of minimizing the damage of Askren.
At the 4:31 mark of the third quarter, Dominique Smith tied the game for S-C after a 3-pointer from the top of the circle.
Warrensburg answered with a pair of free throws by Askren and Warrensburg took the slim 41-39 lead into the fourth quarter.
Thompson quickly tied the game off his trademark drive and layup and four possessions later, Smith-Cotton snatched the lead after Rohrer made his final 3-pointer of the night with 3:06 remaining.
Warrensburg made a single free throw to tie the game at 44 apiece.
“We held it for 3 minutes. I’m proud of our guys because the first of the year we couldn’t hold it for 3 seconds,” Lincoln said. “We are getting better.”