But a stunning basket at the final buzzer by the Tigers’ Z Barr broke a 51-all tie that moments before seemed to be certain overtime.
As the Tigers’ Damon Wester ran the clock down to 8.3 seconds with 51-51 on the scoreboard, the Tigers called a timeout.
“Obviously, we wanted that last shot. I felt like they were going to come back and play zone. When we got exactly what we wanted, we knew where to put guys. At the end, it just came down to a matter of finishing plays, and we finished the play,” said Tigers coach Lamont Frazier.
Wester drove toward the basket and missed his shot attempt, but Barr came up from underneath and tipped it in as the final buzzer sounded, giving the Tigers a 53-51 victory.
Wester and Chris Kendrix together led an offense that held the Tigers’ lead throughout most of the game. Wester gave the Tigers a 12-5 lead at the end of the first period after a last-second 3-point shot from the corner.
The Tigers maintained that lead through the second and third quarters, led by Kendrix with 24 points and Wester with 14 points on the night.
Wildcats senior Justin Malott opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer that finally gave the Wildcats a lead of 38-37. Alex Rice, Austin Fox, and Rickey Jones drove a persistent and aggressive defense that widened the Wildcats lead to 47-43 halfway through the fourth quarter.
The Tigers’ weapon against the Wildcats’ increased defense was Barr, who snatched the ball from the Wildcats three times in the last four minutes of the game, whizzing out of nowhere to stop the Wildcats from a runaway victory.
The Tigers face the Broken Arrow (Okla.) Tigers Saturday evening in the final match of the tournament. The Wildcats play the Ft. Scott Tigers Saturday afternoon.
Willard 53, Har-Ber 51
Har-Ber 5 16 12 18 51
Willard: Chris Kendrix 24, Damon Wester 14, Kolbe Kinghorn 8, Z Barr 5, Brent Hrebec 2
Har-Ber: Alex Rice 15, Austin Fox 9, Rickey Jones 9, Justin Malott 6, Braxton Jester 5, Hayden Redmond 4, Brandon Buccheri 3