Piper escapes Cats with overtime loss
Ryan Brown's last second three-point attempt bounced off the front of the rim Friday. The missed shot ended De Soto's chances of pulling off the upset of the boys 4A sub-state basketball tournament in Lansing.
Instead, the tired Wildcats had to find the extra energy to outlast the Pirates in overtime, after regulation play ended in a 51-51 tie.
"We left everything we had out there on the floor tonight," Wildcat senior Pete Crall said shortly after De Soto lost the game 66-55. "We just about had them beat. This is the best group of competitors with which to go to war with. They had my back...and I had theirs."
Although the Wildcats were unable to convert in regulation, De Soto coach Jason Generally liked the effort his team gave.
"I was happy to have the ball for the last shot," he said. "I couldn't be prouder of a group of guys. We spent a lot of energy coming back. It was an unbelievable high school game."
Unlike the two previous games against the Pirates, De Soto didn't cave in when it fell behind early. In the first game this season, the Wildcats lost 63-42 after trailing 22-11 after the first quarter. De Soto trailed 17-6 after the first period in the second match-up, before falling to the Pirates 56-38.
However, the Wildcats pushed Piper to the limit Friday despite falling behind19-12 after the first eight minutes of play.
"We weren't going to give in," De Soto junior Danny Brown said after he paced the Wildcats with 20 points. "We clawed back point by point, inch by inch."
De Soto did get back in the game early in the second quarter and even took the lead when it scored the first nine points of the period, going up 22-19 on Hunter Noe's fast break layup with more than five minutes left until halftime.
The Pirates tied the game at 23-23 on Matt Reitemeier's layup on the break and then built it back to seven points when Damian Young (who has scored 63 points against De Soto this season) ripped the cords on back-to-back three pointers, making the halftime score 30-23.
Piper took its biggest lead of regulation to start the second half when Matt Smith drilled a three-pointer just 32 seconds into the third period, increasing the lead to 33-23.
The Wildcats cut the deficit in half when Danny Brown drove the baseline for a layup and made the ensuing free throw. Noe and Josh Arnold then grabbed back-to-back offensive rebounds and made the putbacks, bringing the deficit to 35-30.
A 7-2 run to end the third period enabled De Soto to get within 41-39 heading into the final period.
Graham Power stole a Pirate pass at midcourt and raced in for a layup before Danny Brown knocked down a three-pointer following a Piper turnover, ending the scoring in the period.
De Soto led or was tied for all but 14 seconds in the fourth period. Power started the scoring in the period by grabbing an offensive rebound and getting the putback.
Brown then hit a three-pointer 22 seconds later, putting the Wildcats up 44-41 with just more than six minutes left in regulation.
The teams traded baskets before Young's jumper following a Pirate offensive rebound tied the score at 51-51 with more than a minute remaining in regulation.
Two quick turnovers and a monster block by 6-foot-9-inch junior Leo Criswell then put De Soto behind the eight ball, as Piper made 9-of-11 free throws in the extra period, earning the 11-point win.
Criswell's block came with two minutes remaining in the game after Arnold stole a Pirate pass and was racing in for a layup. Had he scored, De Soto would have crept back within 58-55.
Criswell also blocked a Danny Brown shot attempt with less than a minute remaining in the fourth period. The rejection avenged a swat the 6-3 Brown handed him early in the game.
Young scored a game-high 22 points for the Pirates. Criswell tallied 16 points and used his long frame to pull down nine rebounds, while Josh Wille added nine points to the Pirate cause.
De Soto was led by Danny Brown's 20 points. Noe notched the game's only double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Arnold scored eight points for the Wildcats.
The Pirates converted on 23-of-51 shots from the floor and 14-of-25 free throws. De Soto, on the other hand, made 22-of-53 field goals and 6-of-8 charity tosses.
The Pirates out-rebounded De Soto 38-31 and made 6-of-14 shots from beyond the three-point arc.
"We're a good team that's beating good teams now," Generally said following the game. "And that's a tribute to their hard work."
Sumner Academy (20-2), who also ended Eudora's season Friday, shut down Piper (15-7) 56-39 Saturday earning the berth to the state tournament Wednesday through Saturday in Salina.
De Soto ended the season with a 10-12 record.