ESSEX – The Essex/South Page Trojans had two chances in the final five seconds to tie the game, but both shots wouldn’t go and Diagonal escaped Essex with a 41-39 victory, Tuesday, Feb. 5.
Essex/South Page had the ball in the front court trailing 41-39 with five seconds left. Tristan Frank got a solid look from about 10 feet, but it hit off the back iron. Cooper Stanley pulled down the long rebound, but his off-balanced turn around was well off the mark and the Trojans lost for the ninth straight time.
The Trojans trailed 40-39 with 11 seconds left, but Trent Radley missed a pair of free throws. Diagonal’s Clayton Hansen hit one of two on the other end setting up the final exchange.
The Maroons led 37-29 with 2:58 to play after a Kade Klommhaus basket, but Essex/South Page scored the next five. Colton Thornburg hit from outside and Trent Radley followed from inside to cut the deficit to 37-34 with still 2:18 remaining.
Radley scored again in the paint after a Maroons free throw to cut the lead to two.
Klommhaus hit two free throws with 59 seconds to play to put Diagonal back up by four, but the Trojans got a Radley free throw seven seconds later and a Thornburg runner with 27 seconds left to cut the deficit to one.
The Trojans had a brief lead early in each of the first three quarters, but found themselves trailing by a two possession margin a majority of the contest. The entire game was played within a 10-point range from an eight-point Maroons lead at 37-29 to a two-point Trojans edge at 2-0.
“I’m proud of the boys, they didn’t give up,” Essex/South Page coach Matthew Quick said after the game. “That’s one plus, but at the end we wanted to win. I’m glad we were able to stick with them, do what we needed to do and continue to score on offense even when we were down.”
Thornburg scored 10 of his 15 points in the final quarter as the Trojans concluded the regular season with a 1-17 record.
“Colton knows that the team goes through him,” said Quick, “and in that second half he made sure he was going to get to the rack and find open people. We tried to get it to him right away at the end, but Tristan got open and he just couldn’t get it to fall.”
Foul trouble hurt the Trojans as both Daniel Ohnmacht and Wesley Johnson fouled out in the fourth quarter. Quick said the foul trouble and offensive inconsistency were two tough things to overcome in the loss.
“If we could have put the ball in the bucket during the first and third quarters we would have been a lot better off,” said Quick. “Defensively we did a lot of good things, but we got in foul trouble and they hit some free throws.”
Radley added 11 points for the Trojans while Johnson had eight in the regular season and home finale.
Klommhaus led the Maroons with 23 points while Hansen added 11.
Diagonal improves to 5-11 with the win.