The chance was there to tie the game, but Neosho came up just short trying to tie Joplin in the waning seconds of Friday’s basketball game.

Down by six points with less than 35 seconds to play, the Neosho Wildcats had a big rally, but came up short against Joplin, 64-61, in a semifinal game in the 63rd Annual Carthage Invitational.

Once down by one point, 55-54, Neosho couldn’t keep up with the Eagles, as the opposition went on a 8-3 run from the four minute mark to 31.9 seconds left, following a free throw by Derek Stokes.

Neosho’s Kagean Wilkey buried a trey with 17.3 seconds let to cut Neosho’s deficit down to three points, 63-60. Joplin bumped its lead to four points when Zentrell Shannon hit one of two free throws with 14.5 left.

Neosho’s Zane Culp was fouled with 5.7 seconds left, hitting the first of his two free throws to make it a three-point game. His second shot missed and two Joplin players looked to have got the rebound, but the ball got knocked loose.

Michael Lowe picked it up, dribbled outside and put up a 3-pointer, but Devin St. Clair’s got a hand on it to deflect and seal the win.

Neosho (1-1) led 11-9 in the first quarter, but was tied at 27-27 at halftime. Joplin raced ahead 49-46 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Wildcats play at 3 p.m. against Seneca in the 3rd place game of the tournament.  

SCORING RECAP

Neosho (61) – Zane Culp 1, Alex Wise 18, Michael Lowe 13, Kagean Wilkey 11, Ethan Murray 0, Jared Hill 0, Corey Crandall 6, Ben Cook 2, Marcus Middleton 10.

Joplin (64) – Devin St. Clair 2, Zentrell Shannon 5, Matt McCreary 7, Derek Stokes 25, Evan Menke 8, Tevin Triplett 8, Brad Hefley 0, Phil Davis 9, Nick Brown 4, Sam Williams 0.