Hogan Prep junior Damien Daniels ripped his jersey out of his shorts, lifted it over his face and sauntered toward the bench. After 31 minutes, a fifth foul ended his night early.
A minute later, the Rams’ best postseason run in five years came to a close too.
Daniels poured in a game-best 32 points, but it came in a losing effort to Whitfield, which left Mizzou Arena with a 79-70 victory on Thursday in the Missouri Class 3 state semifinals.
Hogan Prep (23-8) will play for third place at 2:30 p.m. on Friday at Mizzou Arena.
“Obviously we’re disappointed in the outcome, but the guys’ effort and energy was there for us,” Hogan Prep coach Rob Heitman said, later adding, “We felt like we did all we could.”
Whitfield had a star of its own nearly matching Daniels point for point. Forward Torrence Watson scored 29 points and did most of his damage — and all of his fourth-quarter production — from the free-throw line. He was 18 of 21 from the line for the game.
That was a theme Thursday. To combat Whitfield’s size advantage, Hogan Prep installed a fullcourt press. It forced 22 turnovers, but it also put Whitfield on the line. Whitfield (22-9) made 36 of 45 attempts. Hogan Prep attempted only 14.
After a slow start, Daniels kept the Rams alive. Hogan Prep tied the game after the open possession of the fourth quarter.
“We were made for this (chance),” Daniels said. “We got to this position for a reason.”
Soloman Thomas added 10 points for Hogan.