The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


January 24, 2014

Tulsa Will Rogers holds off Webb City in gold division

A last-second basket still wasn’t enough for the Webb City Cardinals in a 59-58 loss to Tulsa Will Rogers during the first round of the NEO Tournament’s boys gold division on Thursday at the NEO Student Activity Center.

Trailing 59-56 with about four seconds left, Webb City’s Clay Gardner missed a 3-point attempt. Webb City’s Tyson Roderique scored on the putback as time expired, but minor contact didn’t prompt a foul call.

The Cardinals (4-11) will face Monett in a consolation game at 3 p.m. today. The Cubs also suffered a close first-round loss, 57-53 in overtime against Roland.

What makes the loss all the more disappointing for Webb City is that it held a five-point lead with three minutes left and led 54-50 with two minutes remaining.

“When you’re playing a winnable game, you can’t go out there and make so many mistakes,” Webb City coach Landon Cornish said. “It’s frustrating. The lack of focus on taking care of the basketball is killing us.”

After a drive by Roderique gave Webb City a 54-50 lead, Will Rogers’ Dedric Cherry responded with a 3-pointer on the next possession. Joshua Kimble then scored on a runner to give Will Rogers a 55-54 lead with 1:30 left.

Webb City regained the lead at 56-55 when Gardner hit a pair of free throws with 1:02 remaining. But Cherry and Kimble made four free throws down the stretch to seal the win for Will Rogers.

Cherry led all scorers with 31 points, including four 3-pointers.

“He was the top guy on the scouting report,” Cornish said. “He was our focus. When you keep giving him open looks, that’s what happens. We shouldn’t be surprised.”

Webb City led by as many as five points several times in the game, but Cherry responded with a big shot almost every time.

Braden Peck converted a three-point play to give Webb City a 29-24 lead with 1:42 left in the second quarter. About 30 seconds later, Cherry answered with a 3-pointer to pull the score back to 29-27.

A pair of free throws by Channing Mickey gave the Cardinals a 36-31 lead with 7:01 left in the third quarter. Soon after, Cherry answered with another 3-pointer to make it 36-34.

Gardner led Webb City with 15 points, while Roderique and Mickey scored eight points each.

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