Brett Barney said his first 3-pointer was pure luck. His second trey that started overtime ignited Maize South’s 62-58 overtime victory over Wichita Independent High School.
Barney capped a 24-point night with all six Maverick points in overtime. Maize South (4-5) will play top-seeded Beloit (9-1) in Friday’s championship game of the 41st Sterling Basketball Invitational.
The 6-foot-9 Barney threw in the longest shot anyone could remember with a heave from 75 feet that cut the Panthers’ halftime lead to 37-29. Maize South had been outplayed and outhustled, but carried momentum to halftime.
“That one at halftime was pretty lucky,” Barney said. “I just threw it up there and started to the locker room.”
Barney’s second 3-pointer to start overtime was just as important for a 59-56 lead. He secured Maize South’s victory with three free throws.
“That second 3-pointer was a much tougher shot against good defense. We’ve never played for a tournament championship, and never even been a .500 team since we started basketball at Maize South,” Barney said. “I credit my teammates. It was a good team effort tonight.”
Barney’s basket handed the Mavericks a 56-52 in regulation when Brice Dean made two free throws and Michael Kay’s rebound basket forced overtime at 56. Kay scored the Panthers’ basket in overtime off a Dean assist, but the Panthers missed their other shots and Matthew Loveland, a 60 percent foul shooter, missed four times from the line.
The Mavericks appeared in trouble down 20-7 after one period against the Panthers’ aggressive fullcourt pressure that scored seven points off five turnovers.
Maize South’s Kade Kordonowy scored 23 points and started swinging the momentum by teaming with Barney. The Panthers’ tried to slow the Mavericks’ tandem with a triangle-and-two defense.
“We were fortunate because Remington showed that same defense against us Tuesday,” said Maize South coach Kip Schultz. “We had practiced a few plays against that defense and stuck with it. We started playing more efficiently with our halfcourt offense. I have to hand it to our guys who were able to work the ball to Kade and Brett.”
The Panthers still led 48-39 after three quarters. Kordonowy and Barney combined for 13 fourth-quarter points, but the biggest play was Kordonowy’s nifty assist to Wakon Lee for a 3-pointer and a 54-52 lead.
Independent point guard Brice Dean scored 19 points to go with four assists. Trey Williams added 14 points. The Panthers backed away from their effective pressure defense after a hot start.
“We started off really strong defensively and I probably should’ve stuck with our fullcourt defense,” said Rob Fields, Independent coach. “When we are playing really good defense like that, it gets us into our offense. They started hurting us inside on defense and we got away from the way we like to play. We always play better offense when we are playing our defense.”
Dean, averaging 22 points per game, played superbly and his one-on-one matchup against the Mavericks’ quick DeSean Washington was a classic showdown.
“Brice played a nice ballgame and he’s a guy we rely on,” Fields said.
He looked at the stat sheet and saw 6 of 18 foul shooting.“We shoot free throws a little better and I don’t know that we go to overtime,” he said.
* Top-seeded Beloit edged Lyons 52-49 in Thursday’s semifinals. Austin Budke scored 23 points to go with 10 rebounds. Payton Vetter scored 19 points. Lyons (5-7) plays Wichita Independent (9-3) for third place at 6 p.m.
* Sterling 48, Remington 46 – Tanner Stallings scored the game-winner for Sterling, which advances to the fifth-place game against Bluestem. Remington’s Caleb Turner scored 26 points.