Having lost 30 straight times, Campus didn’t know any different for the past 15 years when it came to playing Derby.
This season more than ever, the No. 10 Colts’ odds were looking promising to defeat the unranked Panthers. After a back-and-forth fourth quarter, Campus can finally say they took down its rival. The Colts won on the road 52-48 on Tueday night.
It was Campus’ 10th win all-time against Derby and the first since 2004, according to Panther broadcaster Dan Page.
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“I knew it was going to be tough,” coach Chris Davis said. “Nobody comes out of here and wins easy. We knew we would have our hands full.”
Derby took the lead early into the game, but Campus hit a surge in the second quarter, outscoring the Panthers 19-7 in the second quarter, with a clutch and-one from senior center Cade Howard to close out the first half.
Entering the third quarter, Derby dug itself a bigger hole going down by double-digits. It wasn’t until junior guard Tre Washington went coast-to-coast for a layup that the Panthers started to pick up their momentum. Derby scored layups on its next three possessions to cut the deficit to two.
Campus struggled adjusting to Derby’s momentum, ultimately giving up its lead early in the fourth quarter. The Colts and the Panthers were neck-and-neck the entire fourth quarter, both turning the ball over and scoring an equal amount.
A couple of free throws and lock-down defense gave Campus a three-point lead with less than a minute left. Derby had a pair of three-point looks, but neither fell to force overtime. Campus hit another foul shot to ice it.
Davis said the key to securing the win was to go back to the basics and to stick with the plays and executions that have been working for them the whole season.
“I told them, ‘Don’t do anything that we’re not capable of doing,’ “ Davis said. “ ‘ Don’t do things that we haven’t done all year. Keep your composure and pull together.’ We didn’t panic and made enough plays down the end.”
Campus junior Shawn Warrior, a transfer from Southeast who became eligible at the new year, finished with 19 points - 14 of which were in the second half.
“Playing my second game as a Colt feels really good, especially since we haven’t beaten them in 15 years,” Warrior said. “We pulled through, follow what Coach said, and just stick together as a team.”
Campus hosts Wichita East on Saturday in the AVCTL/GWAL Challenge. Davis said beating Derby sets up the atmosphere to be even better when the Colts return to their home court.
“We’re on a little bit of a roll,” Davis said. “We’re going to get better. Coming out of here with a win keeps the momentum going.”