Wildcats notch revenge against Raiders
It took just one play in the overtime period of Friday's 57-49 win over Immaculata for De Soto's Josh Arnold to realize that he and his teammates were about to pull off a big upset.
Once his pass landed safely in the hands of Danny Brown on a back door play, Arnold had a good feeling about the game's prospects.
"Once I got the back-door pass to Danny (Brown), I said, 'Yeah, we're going to get this one,'" Arnold said after the game. "We did everything we could do after that to make sure we'd get the win."
Arnold has had a knack for coming up with big plays against Immaculata, especially this season. Last month, the Raiders snapped De Soto's three-game winning streak and dropped the Wildcats' record to 4-2 with a 60-54 win.
In that game, Arnold led the way for De Soto with 22 points. He has scored a total of 43 points against Immaculata in their two games this year.
The Wildcats led most of the way in game one but saw the Raiders rally in the fourth period.
"Once they chipped away at our lead and went up by three points, we pretty much let them do what they wanted," Arnold said of the early season six-point loss. "Tonight we dictated which shots they could take. We fought to keep our intensity up so we could keep our chances of winning alive."
The Wildcat defensive intensity was at a high pitch Friday, especially once the Raiders got the ball into the paint.
Immaculata missed several golden opportunities to score easy baskets inside. But they couldn't get the ball to drop because a Wildcat defender made the Raiders alter or rush their shots. At times, the Raiders didn't even get the shot off.
"We had a bad game against Bonner Springs," Arnold said. "We worked a lot on our defense. We wanted to have active hands tonight. If they held the ball up, we were going to have a hand in their face. If they pulled it down, we wanted to swat around and try to get a hand on the ball."
Besides the backdoor play that gave De Soto the lead for good at 44-42 with three minutes, 36 seconds remaining, Arnold was involved in another key series of plays.
Barrett Kaufman missed a shot on the Raider's possession following Arnold and Brown's connection but grabbed his own rebound. Fortunately for the Wildcats, Arnold took the ball away.
In frustration, Kaufman fouled Arnold and fouled out of the game in the process. Raider leading scorer Danny McEvoy then argued the call with a little too much excitement, drawing a technical foul. He too had to take a seat on the bench for the remainder of the game.
Arnold made all the free throws to give De Soto a 48-42 advantage with less than two minutes left and a ton of momentum.
"I didn't even know they called the technical," Arnold remembered. "I shot my free throws, and then they (referee) said why don't you go ahead and shoot two more. So I did."
Graham Power added two more free throws for De Soto, before Tim Supplee scored the first overtime points for the Raiders, cutting the deficit to 50-44 with 1:33 left in the game.
Three turnovers in the final minute denied Immaculata of the rally this time out, and the Wildcats ended the game with a 7-5 run.
De Soto put itself in position to win the game in regulation.
After falling behind 28-25 early in the final frame, Pete Crall hit a turnaround eight-foot jumper and Arnold drilled a pair of free throws, giving De Soto the lead for good at 29-28 with six minutes left in regulation.
Danny Brown and Arnold then hit back-to-back three pointers, putting the home team up by seven points with just more than four minutes left in regulation.
But McEvoy sandwiched a pair of treys around Brown's two free throws, whittling the deficit to 40-36 with a little more than a minute left in the period.
McEvoy then scored on an offensive put back, and Supplee scored on two layups -- the latter coming with nine seconds left, knotting the score at 42-42 after four periods.
The Wildcats also had the hot hand in the first period, out-scoring the Raiders 19-10 after shooting more than 64 percent from the field. But Immaculata shot better than De Soto in the second frame, closing the gap to 19-18 at intermission.
Despite going zero-for- nine from the field in the second period, De Soto (18-for-46) out-shot the Raiders (20-for-53) from the field. The Wildcats also out-scored Immaculata 18-4 from the charity stripe.
The Raiders, ranked fourth in the final Kansas Basketball Coaches Association 2A ratings, had a 37-29 advantage on the boards.
De Soto, 8-10, is the host of Basehor-Linwood at 8:30 p.m. Friday before beginning sub-state play next week.
Three teams in the substate take winning records into the tournament next week, and De Soto has faced each one. The Wildcats lost to Piper (12-6) twice, and Sumner Academy (16-2) at the Spring Hill Tournament.
The Wildcats take on the Lansing Lions (12-7) in first round sub-state action at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Lansing.