TOPEKA — Heights’ boys overcame a heartbreaking one-point overtime loss in the Class 5A semifinals with a desire for one more win Saturday.
The Falcons (20-5) accomplished that goal with a 51-49 win over Hays, with Hays (23-2) missing a late three-pointer with a chance to pull out a victory.
“For us, we wanted a trophy,’’ Heights coach Joe Auer said. “We’re a young team, we only have two seniors and we had a lot of fun, we had a lot of fun out there today. We shared the ball, we defended our tails off and are leaving here with a trophy.
“We told the kids before the game that we were picked to finish fourth in the City League this year, we were the No. 5 seed coming into the state tournament, so we’ve exceeded expectations all year and you can never get tired of success or winning.’’
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Hays, which suffered its second straight loss after 23 straight wins, had the last shot with a chance at the win, but senior guard Jordan Windholz (19 points, five threes) missed a guarded three-point attempt as time ran out.
Windholz had hit a long three-pointer moments earlier (his third of the fourth quarter) that got the Indians within a point, but after a Falcon free throw, Heights got out on Windholz and made sure the Indian standout didn’t get a good shot on his final attempt.
“We had a great opponent,’’ Auer said of the Indians. “They’re one of the best teams in the state of Kansas and they can shoot the three. That last three they hit was from the concession stand, so that makes you a little antsy.’’
Junior Semaj Hervey led Heights with 11 points, capping a big state tournament, and senior Jordan Wilbeck added 10 points. Senior Lane Clark added 11 points (three three-pointers) for Hays.
“They’re exhausted, we’re exhausted,’’ Auer said. “Both teams had emotional losses last night and I thought both teams came out and competed their tails off today and showed a lot of class and dignity.’’