WILLARD, Mo. -- Fort Scott High School's boys survived an attempt to send the game into overtime and held off host Willard, 81-78, on the second night of the Willard Tri-State Classic here Friday night.
Though the Tigers (2-0) trailed only for a few seconds early in the final stanza, they couldn't shake off the host school, which got within 80-78 on a stickback basket by Skyler Frazier with 9.4 seconds remaining.
Tyler Adams made one of two free throws for Fort Scott with 3.1 seconds remaining. Willard rebounded the second shot and got the ball into Frazier's hands. His attempt to tie the game went through the net for an apparent 3-point goal. But the officials ruled that the ball left Frazier's hand after the horn sounded.
It was a wild night in which two Fort Scott players achieved personal highs in scoring and a Willard sophomore scored more points against FSHS than anyone has in at least 15 seasons. Both teams shot over 50 percent from the floor and the Tigers scored the most points since losing an 86-84 overtime verdict to Willard on the same court two years ago.
In the first quarter, it didn't seem as though such a finish was going to happen. Sophomore Chris Kendricks -- who finished with 35 points -- scored four consecutive baskets to give his team a 13-4 lead with around two minutes to go.
Fort Scott fought back, getting within 15-12 by the end of the period on Cameron Woodring's buzzer beater. The Tigers scored 10 of the first 11 of the second to go up 22-17.
Woodring was responsible in some way for four straight Fort Scott baskets -- two he scored, then two on which he assisted Matt Wright -- that put the Tigers up 34-27 with less than two minutes left in the first half. FSHS maintained a 37-31 lead at the break.
Kendricks helped bring Willard back as he scored 8 straight points for his team, the last two on a breakaway dunk to put his squad ahead 49-47 with around a minute and a half to go in the quarter.
Adams scored a basket, then Tyler Durbin converted a 3-point play to put Fort Scott up by three. But Kendricks tied it by converting his own 3-point play. Woodring gave the Tigers a 54-52 lead going into the final stanza.
Willard's last lead came on a Zachary Barr free throw early in the fourth that put the hosts ahead 55-54.
Fort Scott's largest lead was 72-63 after Wright scored off a Woodring assist midway through the period.
Woodring finished with a personal-high 28 points, exceeding his previous best of 26 scored last February in a 71-70 loss to Parsons. Adams' 18 points was also a personal high. Kyle Altic chipped in with 14 points off the bench and Durbin scored 10.
Kendricks is just the fifth opposing player to score 30 points or more against Fort Scott since the 1996-97 season. Chanute's Brett Olson scored 34 in a loss to Fort Scott in February of 1999 and Ryan Odaffer of Labette County scored the same total in a 68-62 victory in January of 2000. Frazier added 22 points for Willard .
Fort Scott shot 53 percent from the field, making 33 of 62 field-goal attempts. Willard shot 57 percent on 28 of 49. Fort Scott outrebounded Willard, 35-22.
Fort Scott will face Har-Ber of Springdale, Ark., today at 4:15. If the Tigers win, they will take the tournament title. If Har-Ben wins, the champion of the round-robin tournament may have to be determined with tie-breakers.
FORT SCOTT: Stark 1 0-3 3, Denton 0 0-0 0, Adams 7 1-2 18, Wright 4 0-2 8, Woodring 11 5-10 28, Altic 6 2-4 14, Durbin 4 2-3 10. TOTALS: 33-62 10-24 81.
WILLARD: Barr 2 1-2 5, Williamson 1 2-2 5, Frazier 8 6-11 22, Kendricks 13 7-9 35, McDarus 0 0-0 0, Long 1 0-0 3, McGuiness 3 2-2 8, Hebrek 0 0-0 0, Anderson 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 28-49 18-26 78.
Fort Scott..... 12 25 17 27 -- 81
Willard...... 15 16 21 26 -- 78
Three-point field goals: Fort Scott 5-7 (Adams 3, Stark, Woodring), Willard 4-9 (Kendricks 2, Williamson, Long).
Total fouls: Fort Scott 20, Willard 20. Fouled out: Barr, McGuiness. Technical fouls: none.
Rebounds: Fort Scott 35, Willard 22. Turnovers: Fort Scott 18, Willard 21.