June Johnson kept glancing at the scoreboard during the final three minutes of Wichita Northwest's 55-34 loss to Blue Valley Northwest on Wednesday in the Class 6A boys quarterfinals.
There wasn't much time before he and the rest of the starters would be pulled and their state tournament experience would be over.
Wichita Northwest had high expectations, but they were scuttled by a poor shooting performance spurred by BV Northwest's zone defense. The players' body language began to change as the shots stopped falling.
"They were making shots and we weren't," Johnson said. "It wasn't that we necessarily thought we were out of it. We just got a little discouraged, and we need to work on that."
Northwest coach Chris Collins took the blame for the loss and said they had reason to be disappointed with the outcome. They had grown used to winning and expected to be playing in Friday's semifinals.
"They believe in each other," Collins said. "I believe in them, and they firmly felt that we could win the whole thing. That's the way we work. I feel that we have the talent. I feel that we have the passion and the drive. We're going to get there."
BV Northwest, which will play Dodge City on Friday, entered the fourth quarter with a 35-27 lead. BV Northwest's Garrett Fugate completed a three-point play, then made a three-pointer two minutes into the period for a 14-point lead.
Dante Hunter ended a drought of more than 5 1/2 minutes when his three cut the lead to 11.
Collins knows the Grizzlies tightened in the second half. But with a core of starters and role players returning that includes Johnson, Craig Nicholson and Broc Cramer, he has reason for hope.
"I'm not the type of person that makes guarantees and things like that, but I firmly believe in my guys and I firmly believe in myself that we'll be back, and we're going to make another run at it," Collins said.
Dodge City 55, Leavenworth 53, 2OT — Dodge City's Trey Hallman waited as long as he could before making his move. He was one step faster than Leavenworth defender Kyle Wiggins.
He drove left past Wiggins and drew the defense, passing outside to Bruce Campbell. Campbell made an open jumper with 2.6 seconds left in the second overtime to give his team a 55-53 lead. He was mugged by Dodge City teammates as he went to the bench for a timeout.
Leavenworth turned the ball over to end the game.
Dodge City held Leavenworth scoreless for the final 4:45 of regulation to force overtime.
W. Northwest student section
Wichita Heights fans
Dodge City's band and cheerleaders were the halftime show during the Heights-BV West game. I wish I would have taped the whole thing. They were excellent.
BV West fans
Washburn Rural fans
Olathe East fans
BV Northwest student section
Dodge City fans