Boys basketball: Fourth quarter comeback lifts Shawnee over Thurgood Marshall

SPRINGFIELD — Trailing by 10 points with less than six minutes remaining, Shawnee High School basketball coach Chris McGuire called a timeout to remind his senior class what was at stake.

In the postseason, there are no tomorrows.

“We talked before the game that they’ve got to be senior leaders,” said Shawnee coach Chris McGuire. “At this point, seniors have to play like seniors. These guys stepped up and they didn’t want it to end.”

The ninth-seeded Braves responded by outscoring 18th-seeded Thurgood Marshall 18-3 down the stretch to score a 50-45 victory in a Division II first-round game on Wednesday night at Springfield High School.

Senior Desmond Houseman had a game-high 14 points and seniors Darian Dixon and Cody Siemon each scored 12 as the Braves improved to 15-8. They advanced to play top-seeded Alter (16-7) at 8 p.m. Monday at Springfield.

“We didn’t play well through about three-and-a-half quarters or so, but the guys really turned it on and made some plays when we needed to make plays, got some energy off of being able to make some defensive stops there for a stretch and momentum is a crazy thing, especially when you get into these situations,” McGuire said. “We were able to make the plays down the stretch.”

Senior Chashaun Little scored 12 points for Thurgood Marshall, which finished its season 7-16.

“I’m very proud of the way we played and how we kept fighting,” said Thurgood Marshall coach Antheny Petty Sr. “You can’t take anything away from the other team. It was just a tough game. You want to win, but it’s good to play until the end and you have to live with the results.”

Junior Norman Spearman hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Cougars a 9-6 lead after the first quarter. A 3-pointer by Little and a layup by junior Harold Hart increased the lead to 14-6, forcing a Braves timeout with about five minutes remaining.

Houseman scored five of his 14 points in the second quarter as the Braves cut the lead to 19-15 at the half.

In the third quarter, the Braves pulled to within one point at 29-28, but the Cougars answered. A bucket by junior Stephen Daugherty capped a 13-3 Thurgood Marshall run, increasing its lead to 42-32 and forcing another Shawnee timeout.

After the timeout, Thurgood Marshall attempted to play keep away, but the Braves were able to force multiple turnovers. A 3-point play by Dixon, two straight buckets by Siemon and another layup by Dixon cut the lead to 42-41.

“I was just thinking that our season was on the line so we had to play as hard as we could to keep playing,” Dixon said.

Siemon and senior Rickie Powell followed with back-to-back buckets to give Shawnee the lead for good at 45-42.

“With the season on the line, we were just trying to get everybody riled up, ready to go and fight back and we did in the end,” Siemon said.

Dixon hit two free throws and Powell added another to make it 48-42. A 3-pointer by Thurgood Marshall senior Renald Person III cut the lead to 48-45, but junior Holton Massie hit two free throws with one second remaining to seal the victory for the Braves.

Petty was pleased with his team’s play despite its struggles down the stretch.

“We made a couple decisions that weren’t right and the turnovers hurt us,” he said. “I can live with the shots. It’s the turnovers and when they happened. We had three turnovers that got them back within one and then you’re in a dogfight for the rest of the game. We’ll learn from it.”

The Cougars will graduate six seniors from this year’s squad.

“I’m so proud of them,” Petty said. “They were great team players, great leaders. I hate to see them go, but we’ve got to continue to build and get ready for next year.”

Shawnee has won 11 or more games in 13 consecutive seasons. They hope to bring home one more victory against top-seeded Alter.

“(Alter) has size, they’ve got skill, they’ve got all those different things,” McGuire said. “It’s tournament time. We talked about it like its (college basketball). 8s and 9s beat 1s, it happens some. At this point, we have to come grind it out, play the way that we can play and give them our best shot and see what happens from there.”

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