The opportunity to move on in the season came down to the final 17.9 seconds.
The score was tied 75-75 in the Class 4 sectional game between Pleasant Hill and Grandview March 6 at Blue Springs South. Rooster senior Nick Shore was fouled and was at the line. He missed both free throws, but teammate and junior Josh Shewmaker rebounded the ball and Pleasant Hill called a timeout with 14.1 seconds left.
The Roosters came up with a play, but Shore’s lay-up was blocked by Grandview’s Tyrone Taylor, who took it all the way down court and was fouled, hitting both shots with just 1.7 seconds left on the clock, sealing the 77-75 victory for the Bulldogs.
“It was a very tough way to finish a great game and an outstanding season,” Pleasant Hill head coach Ryan Messinger said. “We did so many things well in the Grandview game, but both teams played well enough to win and they just happened to score last. The shot-making and game was wildly entertaining and each team showed a lot of will.”
The game wasn’t always that close throughout, as the Bulldogs led 18-15 at the end of the first quarter and 40-33 at halftime. But Pleasant Hill picked up the offense in the third quarter, outscoring Grandview 23-14. The Roosters first closed the gap as senior Matt Townsend hit a three-pointer and Shewmaker put in a basket to make the score 45-44.
Grandview came back with two buckets in a row, but Pleasant Hill responded with a basket by senior Brad Smith, senior Dillan Findley and a basket and free throw by Shore to give the Roosters a 51-49 advantage. The Bulldogs retaliated with a three-pointer and a bucket to take back the lead, but the Roosters had the final say as Smith hit a shot and Shewmaker sunk a three-pointer at the buzzer, putting Pleasant Hill up 56-54.
In the fourth quarter, Grandview started things off with a 10-0 run to take a 64-56 lead. With the score at 66-59, Smith hit two free throws and a shot to close the gap to 66-63. After a Grandview basket, Townsend sunk a shot and a free throw to make the score 68-66. The Bulldogs put in two more shots to lead 72-66, but Pleasant Hill came back with a basket by Townsend. After a Bulldog free throw, Smith put in a shot to make the score 74-70.
Grandview hit another free throw and Townsend hit a three-pointer, followed by sinking two free throws to knot the score at 75-75 with just two minutes left in the game.
The Roosters were led in scoring by Smith with 28 points, followed by Townsend and Shewmaker with 16 each and Shore with 10 points. Findley had three points and Brandon Uebele added two.
“I’m so proud of our team and our seniors,” Messinger said. “They have done everything that was asked of them and showed such chemistry and determination that will be an example of what our younger players need to strive for in the future. The emotion of the sudden ending was overwhelming for us all, but the realization of what they accomplished over the season and their careers will provide them with great feelings for the rest of their lives. I thank them for letting us all ride along.”
Pleasant Hill ends the season with a 19-9 record.