WARRENSBURG — Smith-Cotton boys basketball suffered its first heartbreak of the season.
Seniors Christian Finley and Kardell Sims scored 14 and 13 points, respectively, during a 55-54 overtime loss Friday at Warrensburg High School.
Losing to Battle on Monday via last-second bucket. Friday’s loss to a former West Central Conference rival was more difficult to stomach.
“We had them on the ropes, we thought we had the game won,” said S-C head coach Kevin Thomas. “Obviously, when you don’t close the way you want to, everyone is sad and devastated. Guys were looking forward to the game today. Everybody was excited about it, and we didn’t fulfill our part of the bargain. We didn’t play as well as we should have.”
Smith-Cotton senior Keith Hawkins answered a late Warrensburg bucket with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, and Sedalia led 27-24 at the half. Warrensburg denied a lob to Sims and tied the game off the turnover, 34-34, at the 3:30 mark in the third.
Sedalia senior Brett Grupe nailed a long-range attempt at the horn for a 39-38 lead after three periods. His was the last of the buzzer-beaters for Smith-Cotton.
After Warrensburg banked home a game-tying trey, Christian Finley lofted a potential winner from beyond the arc that fell short, and teams entered overtime tied at 49.
Sims had the ball at the end of the overtime period, hounded by three Warrensburg defenders. His hopeful exclamation point on a rivalry win glanced off the rim.
Thomas said the initial last-second look was intended to be closer to the cup.
“We were trying to get something going to the basket.” Thomas said. “We didn’t execute to get what we wanted. It’s a learning process. That’s basketball, and that’s life. You have to move forward and move on. He did a lot of good things leading up to that point to keep us in contention.”
Warrensburg erased a 7-2 deficit with a pair of 3-pointers, and Sims ended long scoring drought for S-C from long range. Sedalia trailed 12-10 after the first period.
Smith-Cotton resumed its run into the second period with a Sims 3 and Christian Finley 2. Sims tied the game at 18 with fast-break score and defense helped continue the streak to a 24-18 standing with 2 minutes, 37 seconds to halftime.
Thomas said Warrensburg’s defense slowed down the pace of the game, which worked to their advantage.
“When we were playing well, we forced them to turnover and got out in transition,” Thomas said. “We didn’t play very well the last 2-3 minutes going into overtime.”
Smith-Cotton (4-3) travels to Marshall 7 p.m. Monday.
Alex Agueros can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @abagueros2.