The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

January 28, 2014

Central shot beats buzzer, Joplin boys

The Joplin Eagles boys basketball team’s postgame meeting lasted a little longer than usual.

Because this loss hurt a little more than usual.

Springfield Central’s Tre Robinson drained a turnaround jump shot at the buzzer to beat Joplin 48-46 Tuesday night at Missouri Southern’s Robert Ellis Young Gymnasium.

“This one was tough on our guys,” Joplin coach Jeff Williams said. “This was a grudge match, and they beat us on our home court with a shot a the buzzer.”

Adding to the dramatic ending, Joplin senior guard Charlie Brown hit a 3-pointer with about 12 seconds left to tie the game at 46. Brown, who led all scorers with 23 points, drained the shot over a pair of Central defenders.

“Charlie’s a great scorer and a great kid,” Williams said. “That was a big shot.”

After Brown’s 3-pointer, Central (5-7) broke Joplin’s press to get ball across halfcourt and call timeout with 1.3 seconds left.

Central devised a plan to get Robinson a final shot.

“We knew they were going to try to prevent him from getting the ball at the top of the key,” Bulldogs coach Armando Johnson said. “So we ran a little slip screen on the side. That’s Trey’s best spot. We couldn’t have gotten him in a better place.”

While a buzzer-beater will always sting, what likely hurts more for the Eagles is that they let an 11-point lead slip away.

Joplin (11-5) led 32-21 after Brown’s drive to the basket with 5:47 left in the third quarter. The Eagles didn’t score again until the 6:32 mark of the fourth quarter.

During that timespan, Central went on a 15-0 run to take a 36-32 lead.

It was the second time this season for Joplin to surrender a double-digit lead to the Bulldogs. During the Carthage Invitational last month, the Eagles held a 16-point lead in the first half before falling 75-71.

Robinson was a big factor in both games. He led Central with 25 points in the game at Carthage, and he scored the Bulldogs’ final six points on Tuesday.

“He’s a senior,” Johnson said. “I’ve coached him three years, and he’s one of the guys who’s carried me since I’ve been here.”

Robinson and Isaiah Holyfield led Central with 11 points each. Steven Jones added 10.

Junior guard Carlos Santillan contributed eight points for the Eagles.

Joplin will try to rebound at home Friday for an Ozark Conference game against Rolla.

“To be able to compete in the conference race or to be able to have a chance at district, there are things we’re going to have to correct,” Williams said. “The good news is that they’re all correctable.”

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