Locked in a tied game with less than three minutes left, Olathe South junior guard Nic Slavin and senior guard Zack Fields each hit a big basket, giving the Falcons just enough cushion to beat Raymore-Peculiar 62-57 Friday night in the semifinals of the Raymore-Peculiar/Blue Springs Basketball Tournament.
Throughout the game, Slavin hurt the Panthers with three-pointers. His fifth one broke a 48-48 tie.
“We needed a big play,” Slavin said.
After a defensive stop, Fields, who did a lot of his damage driving to the basket, did it again. The layup increased the Falcons’ lead to 53-48.
“It was huge,” Fields said. “We were struggling. We had a couple of silly fouls. The energy was kind of lost. Nic hit a big three to give us that lead and me, attacking and finishing, gave us a five-point lead.”
Olathe South then hit nine straight free throws to close out the win.
“We work on that a lot in practice, making pressure free throws because we know games all year are going to be close,” Fields said. “If we finish free throws, we can finish games. Tonight, we did that.”
Olathe South, 2-0, will play in Saturday’s championship at 6 p.m. at Raymore-Peculiar.
The Panthers started strong and led 16-15 after the first quarter. Olathe South junior forward Tre Adger came off the bench and scored six of his 10 points in the first quarter to keep the Falcons in striking distance.
“He was a big spark for us,” Slavin said. “He was battling in there and finishing. He was great.”
Trailing 18-15 early in the second quarter, Olathe South took control with a 10-0 run. The Falcons went into halftime ahead 25-22.
The Panthers stayed close in the third quarter because of the play of senior guard Nate Janssen and junior Key’Vaughn Shockley. They combined for 11 points in the third quarter.
Janssen stayed hot in the fourth. A basket by him with 3:40 left in the game gave Raymore-Peculiar its only lead in the second half at 47-46.
Olathe South answered with two free throws by senior Mat Baldeh, making it 48-47. The Panthers tied the game with a free throw from Shockley, but they couldn’t overcome the plays from Slavin and Fields late in the fourth quarter.
Fields finished with 17 points, Slavin scored 15 and Baldeh added 14.
“Last year we actually lost to them, so this was a little payback,” Fields said.
Janssen finished with a game-high 23 points for the Panthers, who dropped to 2-1.