Chieftains mount comeback, win in final minute
The Tonganoxie High basketball team defeated Metro Academy, 44-42, on Tuesday night in the THS gymnasium.
The Chieftains (4-9) have now defeated the Mavericks twice this season, by a total of three points. THS defeated Metro Academy, 38-37, on Dec. 7 in the Central Heights tournament.
With Tuesday's victory, the Chieftains have won back-to-back games for the first time all season.
Junior Austin Smith led THS with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Smith didn't start on Tuesday, but came off the bench roughly 15 seconds into the game.
In the end, it was Tonganoxie's defense that won the game.
Tonganoxie trailed by one point, 42-41, with one minute remaining in the fourth quarter when senior forward Gabe Belobrajdic intercepted a Mavericks pass near halfcourt. Belobrajdic lost control of the ball on his way to the basket, regained possession and converted a layup to give the Chieftains a 43-42 lead with 30 seconds remaining.
Junior guard Jace Waters came up with a huge steal on Metro Academy's next possession. Waters could have gone in for a contested layup with 10 seconds left, but had the presence of mind to dribble back out of the paint to waste more time off the clock.
Eight seconds remained when Waters went to the free throw line. He converted 1-of-2 to give Tonganoxie a 44-42 lead.
Metro Academy junior Brad Bell missed a jumper, which would have sent the game into overtime, as time expired.
Tonganoxie will play host to Basehor-Linwood at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
See the Jan. 30 edition of the Mirror for the full story, which will include THS player and coach reactions from the close victory against Metro Academy.
Scoring by quarter
Tonganoxie 7 13 8 16 - 44
Metro Academy 6 17 9 10 - 42