Late game shooting lifts Derby over Southeast
WICHITA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Opening the 4th quarter, Derby Basketball Coach Brett Flory told his team not to panic. The message resonated with his group as they were able to overcome an eight point deficit to move on in March, 55-50 over Wichita Southeast.
Southeast opened the scoring outpacing Derby in the first half. After the break, the lead teetered between the two sides before the Panthers ended game-closing run. The Panther press earns most of the credit for the turnaround in the second half length in the back court to force errant passes and turnovers.
Sophomore Kobe Smith was a steady source of points for the Buffaloes, scoring a team-high 16 points. Smith was challenged the length of the court by Derby defenders but still finished in the lane on numerous occasions. Caleb Wilson paced the Smith effort adding 14 to the Southeast total.
Amari Thomas dominated the second and third quarters, helping Derby close the gap. Thomas finished the game with a team-high 16 points with most of his body of work in the middle of the game. Fontaine Williams followed suit with 13.
Heading into the 4th, the Panthers faced a lead courtesy of a 3rd quarter run from Southeast. In need of a spark, it came from an unlikely source when Junior DeShawne Titus checked in. Titus says that spark came from within.
“When the game is on the line, I feel good. I feel like every shot can go down so I just shot it,” Titus shared. “I haven’t felt like this, I haven’t hit a game winner before,” Titus explained.
His 12 points, all from behind the arc proved to be the the boost Derby needed in the last frame of play.
Titus recently returning from injury has been good in a reserve role this season. His coach says he wasn’t surprised to see the sharp-shooter step up when his team needed him.
“Everybody has to stay ready, and he did a good job of doing that,” Flory shared. “Everybody knows that he is capable of doing that type of stuff because he does it to us everyday in practice,” he finished.
Derby is set for a sub-state championship match with cross-town rival, Campus.
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