The Community R-VI boys basketball team was 1.6 seconds away from advancing to the Final Four in Class 1 when it battled Meadville in the State Quarterfinals last Saturday at Truman State University in Kirksville.
Unfortunately, Meadville’s Cade Shiflett went up strong for a shot and was fouled when challenged by the Trojans’ Kyle Curtis. Shiflett made two free throws to take a 34-32 lead.
An inbound pass was intercepted at mid court and Meadville, who trailed most of the game, ended the Trojans’ dream season.
Though the hard foul cost the Trojans in the final seconds, head coach Kenneth Jett pointed to his team’s 1-of-8 shooting from 3-point range. His team also made just 5-of-10 free throws.
“We played well defensively, Jett said. “…(It was a) tough call with (1.6) seconds left, which is a shame the game was decided that way but we put ourselves in that position, going only 5/10 from the free throw line…It’s another outstanding effort on defense by the boys. They handled everything with poise and class as always.”
The Trojans opened the game with a 5-0 run behind Lane Thebeau’s 3-pointer.
Community R-VI kept their lead at four points heading into halftime after senior Kaleb Harris drew a charge.
The Trojans made 7-of-18 shots from the field but just 2-of-6 free throws in the first two quarters.
The Eagles finally found its stride midway through the third quarter as Meadville put together a 7-0 run to take its first lead of the game at 23-21.
Lane Thebeau and Harris answered with back-to-back baskets before Meadville scored a late two points to tie the game at 25.
Meadville opened up a five point lead with 5:29 remaining in the game but the Trojans wouldn’t go away.
With 2:18 left, Clay Thebeau stole a pass and took it the distance to tie the game at 32.
Harris missed a shot with 1:17 remaining in the game and Meadville pulled down their biggest rebound of the season. The Eagles held on to the ball for the rest of the game before making the two go-ahead free throws.
The loss meant it was the final game for Harris. He finished the game with nine points, five rebounds, one assist, and one steal.
“Kaleb Harris, our lone senior, played his normal tough hard nose defense,” Jett said.
“It’s a shame we couldn’t continue the season for him…I’m very proud of their season and look forward to next year.”
Clay Thebeau had eight points, two rebounds, and one steal; Lane Thebeau added seven points, two rebounds, two assists, and one steal; Conner Brooks tallied six points, one assist, and one rebound; Kyle Curtis tallied two points, 10 rebounds, and one block; and Anthony Fairchild had two steals and one rebound.
In their Class 1 State Sectional against Marion County, the Trojans faced a Mustangs team that beat them on their Senior Night by 11 points. In that loss, the Trojans were without Brooks and the Mustangs made eight 3-pointers.
In the rematch, the Trojans were paced by their ability to reach the free throw line as they made 21-of-33 in a 51-45 victory.
The Trojans led 8-5 at the end of the first quarter before pushing their lead to seven in front of a loud hometown crowd for the game at Sturgeon High School.
Marion County rallied in the third quarter to take a 40-38 lead before the Trojans pulled away in the fourth quarter. Community R-VI’s defense held Marion County to just five points in the fourth quarter in the six point win.
“The free throw line was the big difference in the game,” Jett said. “Kaleb Harris, our senior leader, had three big rebounds down the stretch. Conner Brooks had another big night. Clay and Lane handled the pressure ‘D’ well, as always. Kyle Curtis came to play and did an outstanding job for us on both ends. Our defense was outstanding in the fourth quarter.”
Brooks scored a team-high 20 points. Curtis finished with a double-double of 11 points and 14 rebounds.
Clay Thebeau had nine points, Lane Thebeau had seven points, and Harris tallied four points and nine rebounds.