The Raymore-Peculiar boys’ basketball team rolled into Grandview Tuesday, December 17, a couple of players short. Unfortunately, they would also finish the game a few points short as a team still struggling to find its stride in the early season.
Seniors Mario Holman (disciplinary) and Josh Fultz (concussion) were unable to play and that left head coach Scott Jermain with a decision to make when it came to the starting five. Holman, who has been an offensive staple for the Panthers this year, is a big piece of the offensive puzzle and a difficult piece to lose. In his place, Jermain started junior Jason Wilson and could not have asked for more from the relatively inexperienced guard.
“I thought Jason really played a nice game,” Jermain said after the game.
“We need that out of him.”
Wilson started off the scoring for visiting Ray-Pec last Tuesday, knocking down a jump shot to get his team on the board. Sophomore guard Baylee Custer, who also saw more playing time in the absence of Holman, would later tie the game up at 8 by drilling a three-point shot. After that, the Panthers would go on to hold their lead until midway through the third quarter.
After a Jason Chambers layup went through the hoop at the last second, Ray-Pec led the Bulldogs 14-10 after the first quarter.
The second quarter could not have started any better for the Panthers, who went on an 8-2 run, leading 22-12 with just under six minutes to play in the half. A drastic shift would ensue, however, and Raymore-Peculiar would not score another point before the second quarter ended.
“They changed defenses and knocked us back on our heels,” said coach Scott Jermain. The team also got into foul trouble, making it difficult for any single group to stay in the game together before halftime.
“That’s part of the adjustment of a young team. Any time you get into foul trouble you have to realize that and make those adjustments,” the coach continued.
“We kind of went hobbling into halftime.”
If it weren’t for poor free throw shooting on the part of Grandview, Ray-Pec would have certainly lost their lead. Regardless, the visitors were able to hold a 22-20 advantage heading into the locker rooms.
A slew of Panther turnovers halfway through the third quarter gave too much ground to the home team and the slim margin Ray-Pec held slipped away. The Bulldogs took a 29-28 lead, but sophomore Nick Janssen hit a long two-point jump shot and a three-pointer that helped his team gain a 35-31 advantage heading into the final quarter of the game.
The first seven minutes of an exciting fourth quarter that was closely contested were eventually overshadowed by a wild final minute of the game.
Ray-Pec was leading the game 45-40 when junior forward James Sappington went to the free throw line for two shots. Hitting both attempts from the charity stripe, the Panthers took a 7-point lead with just over 50 seconds to play.
It was then that Grandview’s senior standout, Tyrone Taylor, put the team on his back. The 6-foot 2-inch guard who has scholarship offers from Creighton, Indiana State, Missouri State, Northern Colorado, and Wichita State drilled one three-pointer, then another, then was fouled on a layup that fell through the basket.
Fortunately for the Panthers, Jason Wilson was as cold as ice from the free throw line, making four free throws in as many attempts in the last minute. Senior center Ben Harris did not fare as well, missing both of his free throw attempts in the final seconds of regulation, leaving his team with a 2-point lead.
As time expired, senior Damon King grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back through for the Bulldogs, tying the game at 51 and sending it to overtime.
“They (the Bulldogs) are so talented,” Coach Jermain said after the game.
“They made some big shots and put themselves in a good position.”