DODGE CITY — When Northwest boys coach Chris Collins puts junior Dauntae Carter into the game, Collins is looking for a three-pointer. Wherever Carter moves on the perimeter, his hands are ready and feet are set.
Because of Collins' expectations, Carter must have that shooter's confidence, no matter how he shot in past games. Or two minutes ago.
There have been times this season when Carter battled confidence issues. Friday night in the Grizzlies' 59-45 victory over Maize in a Class 6A sub-state championship wasn't one.
With 2.3 seconds remaining in the first quarter Carter, on a designed inbounds play, hit a three-pointer as the buzzer sounded.
"Coach told me not to miss, so I knocked it down," Carter said.
With 0.7 seconds to go in the first half, Carter hit another deep three.
That's just how Northwest's offense was during its 59-45 victory over Maize that qualified the Grizzlies (15-7) for next week's Class 6A tournament at Koch Arena.
"We knew we were going to win the game... Dauntae always hits threes when we win," said junior Craig Nicholson, who scored a game-high 20 points and made two three-pointers.
"He's a real good shooter," Northwest junior Spenser Gales said of Carter. "When he's confident, he can shoot."
Northwest (15-7) shot 50 percent from three-point range.
"They've got a lot of confidence," Northwest coach Chris Collins said. "We work on the perimeter (offense) for the guards, but also on the perimeter for the bigs."
Gales added 10 points and eight rebounds, and Miller had 10 points and seven rebounds.
Northwest had three shots in the game's first four minutes — the Grizzlies committed four unforced turnovers — and trailed 8-2 when it discovered its offense midway through the first period.
Miller scored on a baseline jumper, then Nicholson made a long three-pointer, followed with a steal and Cramer scored for the 9-8 lead.
That was just the beginning. Northwest scored 18 unanswered points and had a 24-2 run capped by Grant Landenberger's basket following an offensive rebound with 2:31 to go in the first half.
"We started out good, and then they went on a run," said Maize coach Mike Darrah, whose team ended its season at 15-7. "We couldn't come back from that run when we got down 26-10. We had too many turnovers. It's hard to come back from that. When there's a run like that, we've got to get an easy basket, get a stop, get to the free-throw line."
Maize's Ryan McCarthy scored a team-high 18 points, while Derek Lee added seven rebounds and Steven Wolgamott had 10 points.
Northwest (15-7) 14 17 10 18 — 59 Maize (15-7) 8 9 14 14 — 45
NORTHWEST: Nicholson 6 6-8 20, Landenberger 1 0-0 2, Cramer 1 2-4 4, Miller 4 2-2 10, Carter 3 0-0 8, Gales 5 0-2 10, Johnson 2 1-2 5. Totals 22 (4) 11-18 59.
MAIZE: Hall 0 1-4 1, McCarthy 5 6-8 18, Sturgeon 2 0-1 6, Cole 1 0-0 2, Lee 4 0-3 8, Wolgamott 3 4-7 10. Totals 15 (4) 11-23 45.