In the most high-level game of the season, the Spoofhounds put their best foot forward offensively Wednesday night.
With Jonathan Baker in one of his ridiculous shooting zones, Maryville made close to 50 percent of its shots, eight three-pointers and 14-18 free throws—a combination that against most teams would be good enough to win.
Not St. Pius X.
The Warriors exceeded Maryville's offensive efficiency in the second half and made plays at the most critical times to rally from a seven-point third quarter deficit for a 70-64 win in a highly entertaining sectional game.
SPX shot 75 percent from the field in the second half and scored 43 points, including 34 over the last 11:50.
The Warriors turned it over on their first two fourth quarter possessions, then went the final six minutes without a single empty trip.
Maryville totaled only one defensive rebound over the final two quarters, a stat that sums up how much trouble the Hounds had stopping the Warriors.
SPX's 70-point splurge followed three district games in which the Hounds gave up 43 points or less.
"We needed to get more stops than we did," said Maryville head coach Mike Kuwitzky. "I think that was the key. We knew we had to get some stops. They had some runs there where they were scoring and that was the difference. They made a few more shots than we did."
The loss brought an end to Maryville's season at 20-8 and closed the careers of the team's four seniors: Baker, Tyler Kenkel, Treyton Burch and Kyle Leslie.
Maryville was making its first playoff appearance since 2009-2010 and a fell a game shy of getting back to the quarterfinals for the second time in four years.
St. Pius X (21-7) moves on to face Lafayette County (28-1) in the quarterfinals Saturday at the Independence Events Center.
"We really thought we could go on to the next game, and we still know we can," said Baker who led all scorers with 26 points and hit five three's. "We'd take a rematch if we could. It's a game of runs and they had the run right at the right time. Unfortunately, we came up short."
Ahead by as many as seven in the second half, Maryville held three separate fourth quarter leads, the last at 56-53 on a three-ball by Trent Nally.
St. Pius X's Mac Mason responded with a tying three after a pair of offensive rebounds, and gave the Warriors the lead for good on a follow with around four minutes left.
Three's by Baker and Burch brought Maryville within one, but each time the Warriors answered.
Brian Kaufmann's assist to Grant Gavin made it 66-63 with less than two minutes left, setting up the decisive sequence of the game.
SPX came up with a huge stop when Mason rejected a baseline layup attempt by Maryville's Ty Hilsabeck and then saved the ball inbounds.
Maryville fouled once with 54 seconds left, but then elected not to do so after a timeout, even though St. Pius X was not yet in the one-and-one.
Burch went for a steal on a Marshall Mason cross-over, but missed.
And Mason spotted a wide open Nick Morgan under the basket for an easy layup to make it 68-63. Baker hurried down the floor, and while being tightly defended, had the ball go off his foot out of bounds.
Baker refuted the call, saying it went off the defenders leg, but it stood nonetheless.
The Warriors inbounded under their own basket, broke Maryville's press easily and ended up with another layup by Morgan to lead 70-63 with 15.9 seconds left.
Maryville's last gasp came when Baker got to the foul line with 9.7 seconds left.
He made the first, missed the second one intentionally and Kenkel came up the with offensive rebound.
After a kick-out, Baker had an open look at a three from the corner, but missed it short.
The Warriors, after making two free throws that didn't count because the officials mis-calculated the foul totals, ran off the final 4.2 seconds on the game and Maryville's season.
"It's always tough to lose," said Kuwitzky. "Somebody's got to win. Somebody's got to lose. It's a feeling of sadness that it's over for the seniors. The team, they gave a great effort and had a great year."
The team's longest tenured varsity player, Baker added a final epic performance to his list and finished a marvelous career with over 1,100 points.
In another unbelievable shooting display, Baker missed only one shot in the second half, while hitting three of his five three's, all at big moments.
"He was a great player to coach," said Kuwitzky. "He was an awesome player. He kept us in with big shots all night. All season long, he's just been a dream and been a great captain. He's had a great career and he is definitely one of those elite players."
Also in double-figures for the Hounds were Burch with 13 points, Nally with 12 and Kenkel with 11.
Nally and Kenkel went a combined 10-11 at the foul line. Burch hit a pair of three's.
The Warriors had three in double-figures led by Mac Mason, a 6-4 senior left-handed guard, with 23 points. He had 10 in the fourth quarter and 14 in the second half.
Kauffman finished with 17 points and erupted in the third quarter, hitting three, three's.
Post player Luke Hoban scored 15 points and Grant Gavin added eight.
"We just kept doing what our game plan was which was taking the ball to the rim," said St. Pius X head coach Chad Wright. "Mac and Brian just kind of decided they weren't going to lose the game. They made some shots. Mac got to the hole well. They were in a little bit of foul trouble. That helped, too."
Neither team led by more than five points in the first half and Maryville's largest lead was its halftime lead of three.
St. Pius X was up 14-9 at the end of a first quarter in which the Hounds shot 4-12 and turned it over seven times.
Maryville followed with a near flawless second quarter offensively in which they shot 6-9, while SPX was only 2-8.
Baker opened the quarter with a three and hit another with just over four minutes left in the half to give the Hounds a 23-22 lead. Nally scored four straight on a jumper and two free throws to make it 28-26.
Down one, Pius was poised to hold for the last shot, but Kenkel stole the ball from Kaufmann at mid-court and drove in for a layup to give the Hounds a 30-27 halftime lead and all the momentum.
Kauffmann drained a three to open the second half before the Hounds scored the next five to go up 35-30.
The Hound lead was reduced to one but rose back to six on a Baker three and a Kenkel layup.
A putback by Nally and two Kenkel free throws made it 48-41 with 1:42 left in the quarter.
But all the work Maryville did to build that lead was erased by the end of the quarter.
After a rebound was snatched from Kenkel's hands, Kaufmann scored and then made a three despite being fouled by Baker.
In the final seconds, Marshall Mason banked in a tough shot over Burch to tie it at 48.
"In like two, three plays that seven-point lead was gone," said Kuwitzky.
And by the end of the fourth quarter, so were Maryville's hopes of advancing further in the playoffs.
Despite the loss, Maryville finished with its best record since 2009-2010, beating Class 4 No. 10 Smithville and Cameron along the way.
The Hounds are set to graduate their three leading scorers and a likely all-state selection in Baker who was a three-year varsity starter.
Nally and Hilsabeck are the only two starters back next year, and sophomore Jacob Cacek was the only other player off the bench that saw extended playing time.
"The program is just going to have to kick in," said Kuwitzky who completed his 27th season. "We're going to have run our system and focus on running our system at all levels. I've been doing this for 27 years, and we have a pretty good record during that time. We're going to be fine, but we'll miss the seniors. Don't get me wrong."
By Joey Falkoff firstname.lastname@example.org
The Maryville Daily Forum - Maryville, MO
By Joey Falkoff email@example.com
Updated Feb. 28, 2013 @ 12:20 am
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