Southeast’s boys basketball season came to an end on Wednesday night with a 73-71 loss at Free State in a Class 6A sub-state semifinal. Southeast had a chance to win at the buzzer, but junior Johnny Murdock’s half-court shot hit the backboard and bounced away.
“At the end, they just wanted it more than we did,” Southeast coach Melvin Herring said. “When it comes to subtate, you have to come hungry and ready to play.”
The Golden Buffaloes (10-11) jumped out to a seven-point lead in the first quarter, and they maintained a lead for almost the entire first half. However, the Firebirds went on a 9-0 run to take a seven-point lead midway through the third quarter.
Southeast was never able to retake the lead, and even trailed 63-56 with 3:31 remaining. But junior Israel Barnes nearly led a comeback in the fourth quarter by scoring 15 of his game-high 37 points in the period, and they pulled within two, 67-65, with 53 seconds remaining.
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The teams exchanged free throws, and Buffaloes trailed by two with six seconds remaining. But the Firebirds’ full-court defense forced Murdock to miss a double-clutch shot from half court at the buzzer.
“We battled back, that’s what you’ve got to do in games like this,” Herring said. “I love the kids, they did great.”
Southeast: I. Barnes 37, R. Reed 6, J. Murdock 17, B. Eckels 2, S. Warrior 7, Malik Perkins 2.
Free State: G. Luinstra 29, S. McCaffrey 6, J. Pavlyak 2, S. Cordes 12, J. Dineen 9, C. Clark 11, J. Robinson 4.