Neosho junior guard Cole Seward, for a couple reasons, could have not been on the floor for the final shot Friday morning against Memphis Sheffield in a consolation semifinal of the 63rd annual Neosho Holiday Classic.
For example, he took a spill over a chair along the Sheffield sideline vying for a loose ball.
Then, he earned his fourth personal foul with only 62 seconds remaining on the clock, just one more foul away from disqualification. Seward fouled Sheffield’s Jyatavious Jackson at the basket and Jackson converted an old-fashioned three-point play for a 49-48 advantage.
It was great for both Seward and the Wildcats collectively that he stayed in the game, because he drained a 17-foot fadeaway jumper at the buzzer to give Neosho a 51-49 win over Memphis Sheffield.
Seward hit a tying free throw with 55.9 seconds left.
The Wildcats, 3-10 overall, earned consecutive wins for the first time this season.
Neosho and Memphis Sheffield battled the entire first half, exchanging the lead eight times, but the Wildcats had a disastrous start to the second half, as the Knights rattled off the first eight points in the first 2 minutes, 23 seconds after halftime.
Neosho head coach Tony Branscum slammed his clipboard in anger right after calling a timeout and then one more time as the Wildcats’ five on the floor sat down to listen to their head coach.
The Wildcats answered the bell after their 31-22 deficit and went on a 18-9 run the final 5:37 to earn a 40-all score headed into the fourth.
“Once we played with strength and self-control in the third quarter,” Branscum said, “things turned around for us. It wasn’t out of a lack of confidence in the guys, it was just to stop the momentum and regroup. We did what we knew we were capable of.
“Sam Cook gave us big minutes. He played really well, played hard, came up with some really big rebounds. That was real good to see. Cade Cradduck did a good job at the top of our 3-2 zone for a stretch. Mason Gammons made a couple nice passes for buckets. We had a lot of contributors today and we needed that.
“This was definitely a confidence booster for us. We played really good basketball at times. We know that we are capable of good things.”
Brady Wise, fresh off a tournament-high 32 points against Memphis Middle College, scored the inverse of 32 with a game-high 23 to lead the Wildcats. He finished with three rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one blocked shot in 32 minutes of court time.
A.C. Marion recorded his second double-double in a row with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and he accumulated four steals. He made four straight free throws early in the fourth that drew Neosho to 45-44 with 5:13 remaining.
Cook had four points and five rebounds, and his layup off a Gammons pass gave the Wildcats their first lead of the second half at 46-45.
Neosho made more plays in the final minute of the game — on their final possession, a Sheffield player was called for a double-dribble, the Knights’ 15th turnover proving most costly.
Jackson, who played all 32 minutes like Wise, finished with a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds. Quarterrick Rhodes added 16 points, four rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Bryan Turner had three points, four rebounds, four assists, and five steals.
Sheffield dropped to 4-10 on the season, not helping its cause with a 36.8 percent (7-19) performance at the line.
NEOSHO 51, SHEFFIELD 49
Neosho 12 10 18 11 — 51
Sheffield 12 11 17 9 — 49
NEOSHO (3-10) — Brady Wise 10-15 3-5 23, Cole Seward 3-8 1-2 8, Kaden King 0-4 0-0 0, A.C. Marion 6-10 4-5 16, Sam Cook 2-2 0-2 4, Yeej Lee 0-0 0-0 0, Cade Cradduck 0-2 0-0 0, Mason Gammons 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 21-43 8-14 51.
SHEFFIELD (4-10) — Tyrane Edwards 2-3 0-4 4, Jyatavious Jackson 7-12 6-11 20, Bryan Turner 1-6 0-0 3, Kenneth Ingram 3-6 0-0 6, Quarterrick Rhodes 7-15 1-2 16, Dominique Willis 0-3 0-2 0, Edward Washington 0-0 0-0 0, Winfred Crawford 0-3 0-0 0. Totals: 20-48 7-19 49.
3-point goals — Neosho 1-6 (Seward 1-1, Wise 0-3, King 0-1, Marion 0-1), Sheffield 2-14 (Turner 1-5, Rhodes 1-6, Crawford 0-3). Rebounds — Neosho 31 (Marion 10), Sheffield 30 (Jackson 11). Assists — Neosho 8 (King 3), Sheffield 12 (Turner, Rhodes 4). Turnovers — Neosho 18, Sheffield 15. Steals — Neosho 8 (Marion 4), Sheffield 10 (Turner 5). Blocked shots — Neosho 1 (Wise), Sheffield 0. Personal fouls — Neosho 13, Sheffield 16. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — none. Points in the paint — Neosho 32, Sheffield 30. Points off turnovers — Sheffield 14, Neosho 9. Second chance points — Sheffield 5, Neosho 4. Fast break points — Sheffield 12, Neosho 4.