By John Miller (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Nixa, Mo. – Sports can be cruel, and they can be euphoric. Both Carl Junction and Rogersville got a taste of each on Tuesday night.
After watching Carl Junction’s Will Bebee make a free throw with 1.6 seconds left to give the Bulldogs a 43-42 lead, Rogersville’s Luke Vandersnick was fouled at the buzzer and made both ends of the 1-and-1, lifting the Wildcats to a 44-43 Class 4 sectional win at Nixa High School.
“This is crazy,” Vandersnick said. “I don’t even know what just happened. This is awesome.”
Vandersnick finished with a game-high 21 points and made 9 of 12 shots. Jackson VonBehren had 12 points on 4 of 5 from 3-point range for Rogersville. Bebee led Carl Junction with 17 points and nine boards, while Trenton Smith added 16 points.
Rogersville held a 42-40 lead with 2:22 remaining in the game when Bebee picked off a pass and threw down a breakaway dunk, knotting the score at 42-42.
After both teams traded a few empty possessions, Rogersville had the ball with 10 seconds left in a tie game. Vandersnick missed a 12-foot baseline turnaround jumper and, after Bebee grabbed the board, he was fouled with 1.6 seconds left.
Bebee made the first free throw, giving Carl Junction a 43-42 lead. He missed the second free throw intentionally, but instead of hitting the rim – which would have resulted in the clock starting – the free throw only hit the backboard. A violation was called, giving Rogersville the ball on the baseline, trailing 43-42.
The Wildcats chucked the ball to midcourt, where Vandersnick caught it in a crowd, faded left, and was fouled as the buzzer sounded.
“He threw it up, told me to go get it and try to get it off,” Vandersnick said. “They fouled me pretty bad. I thought I was shooting, too. I thought I should’ve had three free throws.”
Rogersville coach John Schaefer pleaded for three, too. They got the 1-and-1 instead.
“Luke would tell you he’s not a good free throw shooter,” Schaefer said. “He’s probably 60 percent on the year. That’s why I was begging and pleading for three.”
Luckily for the Wildcats, Vandersnick didn’t need three. With no time left on the clock and both teams standing at midcourt, Vandersnick calmly stuck both free throws before getting mobbed by the Rogersville student section.
“I was thinking, ‘Do it for the team, do it for the seniors,” Vandersnick continued, “Last game, gotta do it for them. Everything’s for them.”
Rogersville will now face Grandview in the Class 4 quarterfinals on Saturday, March 10 at 2:45 p.m. in Bolivar, Mo. Grandview stomped Rolla 62-39 on Tuesday night.
“Our kids have been tough all year,” Schaefer said. “We don’t win pretty and haven’t all year. I used to get upset about it, but winning is fine.”
Rogersville 15 8 9 12 44
Carl Junction 11 10 8 14 43
Rogersville: Luke Vandersnick 21, Jackson VonBehren 12, Andrew Scott 8, Hunner Johnson 3
Carl Junction: Will Bebee 17, Trenton Smith 16, Teagan Armentrout 5, Nakoa Warren 3, Aaron Ludders 2