If there was any doubt as to Scott Brown’s emotions in the waning seconds of the third quarter Tuesday night, he erased it in a heartbeat.
Stuck in the depths of a road matchup with Wamego, the Marysville High boys basketball coach watched as his junior guard Jack Blumer glided to the hoop on a wide-open, breakaway opportunity — only to see Blumer leave the layup a touch short.
Brown turned around, faced the crowd and slammed two hands on the bench in frustration. The echo resonated.
Half an hour later, though, Blumer turned to a hero of sorts. His team clinging to a 52-47 lead in the final 10 seconds, Blumer calmly sank two free throws and sealed for his Marysville team a 54-47 win over the Red Raiders.
“That’s Jack Blumer for you,” Brown said with a smile. “I get pretty intense in the games, and I knew that he would respond to (the missed layup) the way he did. He’s a great leader; great kid. You couldn’t ask for a better one than him.”
Between Blumer’s flubbed finish and game-clinching free throws, though, was a game rife with theatrics.
Wamego (16-4, 8-2 NCKL) didn’t score in the third after Blumer missed the layup, but it carried plenty of momentum into the fourth — until Marysville (16-4, 7-3) guard Gabe Pieschl buried a pair of back-to-back triples to begin the fourth quarter. The junior recorded 22 points in total, 12 of which came in the fourth quarter, when he played the final four minutes saddled with four fouls.
But Wamego didn’t die. The Red Raiders got a triple from forward Sean Nordberg — who posted a team-best 19 points — to close the gap to two in the final 90 seconds, and guard Dillon Blain then snared a loose ball and laid in a transition layup to tie the game at 47 with a minute to play.
With the Wamego crowd standing and raucous, Pieschl surveyed his options on the left wing on his team’s ensuing possession. He drove and drew a foul, nailing the two resulting free throws.
Blain’s layup attempt on the Red Raiders’ next possession glanced high off the backboard and into Marysville hands, and Pieschl again canned two free throws, which gave the Bulldogs a 51-47 lead with 20 seconds to play.