Feb. 1—No. 4 College Heights Christian School fought close with No. 1 Greenwood all game long on Thursday night at McAuley Catholic High School in the semifinals of the Mercy/Warrior Classic.
The Cougars trailed by just 3 points at 54-51 but weren't able to score another point as they fell 62-51.
"We decided we were going to try and go for it," CHCS head coach Stephan Harrel said. "We weren't just going to lay down and try to get better. We were going to try and beat them. We decided if we were going to go down, we were going to go down swinging.
"They came out swinging. That was one of the best starts we've had, so I was excited about that."
College Heights was down 13-11 midway through the first quarter and found itself down 20-15 at the end of that period.
A layup from Colsen Dickens made it 25-21 and drew a timeout from Greenwood head coach Darren Taylor with 6:16 left to play.
The Cougars then scored 6 points in a row and took the lead 27-25 on a putback basket from sophomore Jaden Smith.
But Greenwood's freshman guard Tyler Harrell knocked down a 3-pointer to get the lead back.
The two teams traded baskets and the lead three more times before the end of the quarter. CHCS got an advantage when Jayce Walker hit a triple to make it 32-30. Greenwood tied the game but then Harrel took a timeout and drew up a play to get the final score before halftime as the 6-foot-4 Caleb Quade made a layup to make it 34-32.
The two teams continued to go back-and-forth in the third stanza, but Greenwood held the lead for a decent stretch until Dickens lined up a trey to make it 46-44 with 40 seconds left. Greenwood's Logan Sanders responded with a 3-pointer of his own to grab a 47-46 lead entering the final quarter.
The Bluejays raced out to a 54-46 advantage but the Cougars weren't done. A putback basket from Adam Stanton got College Heights 2 points closer and then Stanton got a steal and an assist on the other end when he found sophomore guard Ben Schumacher open in the corner for a triple to make it 54-51.
The Cougars went silent after that with miscues and missed shots the rest of the way.
"It was (basketball) falling at the right time and we were getting tips and steals at the right time," Harrel said. "It just got to the end of the fourth quarter in the last three minutes and we couldn't buy a bucket. Sometimes it's like that."
Harrel told his team this game should tell them, no matter what they lack in terms of size or anything else, that they can "play with anybody."
Quade led the Cougars with 17 points and surpassed 1,000 for his career with his first basket of the second half. Dickens added 11.
Collin Clark led the way with 18 for Greenwood, Sanders added 17 and Garrett Winslow had 14.
Coach Taylor talked about what the Bluejays were able to do to fend off the Cougars.
"Late in the game we finally executed our offense a little bit better and finally started making some of those layups," Taylor said.
College Heights (12-8) gets a rivalry game at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in the third-place game against McAuley Catholic. The Warriors (11-9) lost to Southwest Missouri RUSH 66-39 on Thursday night.
Greenwood (18-1) faces RUSH at 4 p.m. Saturday for the championship.