HUTCHINSON, Kan. - Larned very nearly performed what would have been the comeback of the tournament, but time wasn't on their side in what turned out to be a 49-48 loss for the Indians.
The first half was mostly controlled by the Kaws, taking an 18-14 lead through a quarter with a pair of Ben Stone triples off the bench key in building that lead.
Then in the second Larned fought their way back, hitting a late bucket to tie the game up at 24 heading into the locker room. Then out of the locker room, a late run for Perry-Lecompton made it look like the Kaws would begin to pull away. Holding a 32-30 lead, the Kaws ended the quarter on a 7-2 run to pull ahead by 7, 39-32.
That lead continued to grow for much of the fourth, growing to as much as 48-36 with just over two minutes to play. Then the comeback started.
Brayden Rupp led the charge for the Indians, going on a personal 7-0 run over the next minute and a half to make it a 48-43 game.
A Perry free throw got it back to a 6 point game, then it was Chance Sanger's turn to shine. Sanger put together 5 straight points, including a 3 ball with under 5 seconds to play after the Indians got a steal off the in-bound. But due there not being a rule forcing a clock stoppage late, the Kaws didn't have make a play. The clock hit 0:00, ending Larned's season.
Sanger finished with 16 and Rupp 13 in the losing effort, none bigger than the pair's 12 points in the comeback. Connor Anderson posted a double-double for the Kaws, finishing with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Larned sees their season come to an end with a 17-7 record in the loss. Perry-Lecompton, who last year made State for the first time since the 1980s, achieved their first win in the state tournament since 1980, ending a 39 year drought. They'll meet 2 seed Beloit in Friday's semifinal round.