Make no mistake, the last team standing when the dust clears at the Class 3, District 12 Boys Basketball Tournament will be very lucky to still be around. The competition is that tough.
The Seneca Indians remain one of those teams, as they downed Southwest 67-62 on Tuesday. Diamond, meanwhile, was sent packing on the heels of a 71-69 loss to Ash Grove.
The Indians (19-7) came out on fire and pumped in 26 points in the first quarter. Things evened out in the mid-quarters, and the Indians maintained a 51-41 lead entering the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, however, the Trojans went on a run and actually took back the lead in the middle of the fourth quarter. But Seneca answered quickly and, behind a 28-point effort from Kyler Ng, pulled away late. The Indians were seeded third in the tournament, with Southwest carrying the sixth-seed.
“Southwest is a great team,” Indians coach Will King said. “I don’t care about the six-seed. They’re a great team and can shoot extremely well. We got off to a great start in the first quarter, but I told the kids, ‘No lead is safe,’ and it wasn’t.
“But the kids kept battling and I’m real proud of them, and we’re happy to still be alive at this time of year.”
Logan St. Clair followed Ng with 15 points, while Elias Roelfsema added 11, Bradley Jumper five, Seth Harris six and Chance Smith two.
James Pettit and Jordan Epling had 16 apiece for the Trojans, while Josh Cutbirth added 15, Blake Barnes four, Drew Farrar two and Austin Ross nine.
The Indians will face Clever at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Diamond lost a heartbreaker in overtime as Ash Grove, after trailing 65-63 in overtime, came back to win a close one, 71-69.
The Pirates looked to be all but done in the third quarter when Diamond (20-6) held them to eight points, outscoring them 18-8 in the period to take a 53-44 lead. But the Pirates came back with a strong fourth quarter and tied it up in the final minute to send it to overtime.
There the Wildcats gave up three consecutive offensive put-backs off of free throws, which allowed the Pirates to pull ahead for good.
“They closed well,” Wildcats coach Brandon Rabel said. “Both teams played extremely well. Both teams shot extremely well. They just got a couple more points.
“We’re disappointed we’re not advancing, but we didn’t lose the game, we just got beat by a really good team. I’m going to miss our seniors.”
Page 2 of 2 - Ben Weinreis led the Pirates with 25 points, while Cody Allhands added 23, Kaleb Blackwell nine, Garrett Cline eight, Zach Dinwiddie four and Alex O’Brien two.
Ryan Jinks closed out his Wildcats career with 25 points, while fellow senior’s Logan Myers had nine, Trent Hayes six and Austin Singleton 11. Brodie Bien and Cort Hardy both added three points for the Wildcats.