FRONTENAC -- Johnathan Stark didn't have a single point in the first three quarters Friday night and Fort Scott High School's boys trailed McDonald County, Mo., by 13 points going into the fourth period.
But Stark came alive in the fourth quarter, scoring 19 points as the Tigers (4-7) outscored the Mustangs, 23-7, and claimed a 47-44 victory in the consolation semifinals of the Frontenac Kansas National Guard Invitational.
The other Tigers didn't just watch in awe. They turned on the defense and while Stark was going bonkers on the offensive side, they shut down McDonald County's Austin Grotz and Tyrell Lett, who had combined for 25 of the Mustangs' 37 points through three quarters. Those two players combined for just 2 points in the final stanza -- a pair of free throws by Lett -- and none of their teammates could pick up the slack.
With Fort Scott trailing 37-24, Stark popped a 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter for his first score of the game. He made another triple and a free throw and Jash Pytlowany hit a 3-pointer of his own as the Tigers closed the gap to 34-30 with six minutes left.
Another free throw and a drive by Stark got the Tigers within 40-37. Chris Davenport made one of two free throws and Stark took a steal in for a layup to tie the game with three minutes left.
Stark made two free throws with 2:25 left to put Fort Scott up 42-40. Dre Fickell tied it for the Mustangs (3-12) and Dayton Aubrey's only basket of the game put Mac County back in front, 44-42, with just a little over a minute to go.
Stark tied the game again with 50 seconds left. McDonald County missed a shot and Stark got the defensive rebound. The Tigers called time out with 19 seconds to go.
Fort Scott missed a shot following the time out and Mac County brought down the rebound only to fumble it out of bounds. That have the Tigers another chance with 9 seconds to play.
Stark hit a 3-point shot to give Fort Scott the lead with three seconds left, then stole the inbound pass to preserve the victory.
Fort Scott turned the ball over just 9 times and outrebounded Mac County, 33-23.
The Tigers will play Frontenac (6-4) at 1 p.m. this afternoon in the new gymnasium for fifth place. The Raiders beat winless Baxter Springs, 66-31, in the other consolation semifinal Friday night.
The Tigers held the lead three times in the first quarter. Kaleb DeLaTorre scored the game's first points on a 3-pointer. Garin Sinn put Fort Scott in front 5-4 with four minutes to go. And Mason Knopp made two free throws to make it 10-9 with around two minutes left.
Josh Zerr put the Mustangs ahead with a basket and Drew Harmon pushed the lead to 13-10 at the end of the period.
Fort Scott scored just 4 points in the second quarter as they went just 1 of 12 from the field and 1 of 9 at the free-throw line. A stark -- no pun intended -- contrast to the 7-of-12 performance from the field they enjoyed in the fourth.
On the winner's side of the bracket, top-seeded Oklahoma City-Frederick Douglass defeated fifth-seeded Nevada, 81-54, a score that seems tame compared to the Trojans' 122-30 romp over Baxter Springs Thursday night. Douglass (12-3) will face third-seeded Winfield (8-3), which beat No. 2 Riverton 58-55, tonight at 6:15. Nevada (7-6) will take on Riverton (8-3) in the third-place game at 2:45.
NOTES -- According to the Tribune's records, this was the 2,000th recorded game in the history of the Fort Scott High School boys' program, which first played in 1906-07. Fort Scott has won 1,134 games (57 percent). Local sports historian Thomas Goddard confirmed to the Tribune recently that there is no mention of a team prior to that season....
FORT SCOTT: DeLaTorre 2 0-2 6, Sather 0 0-0 0, Brown 0 0-0 0, Pytlowany 2 0-0 5, Fink 1 0-3 3, Stark 6 4-6 19, Sinn 2 0-1 4, Knopp 1 3-4 5, Davenport 2 1-6 5, Olin 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 16-45 8-22 47.
McDONALD COUNTY, Mo.: Lett 3 2-2 11, Wood 1 0-2 2, Zerr 2 3-6 7, Fickell 1 0-0 2, Grotz 8 0-1 16, Aubrey 1 0-0 2, Harmon 2 0-2 4, Forbes 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 18-29 5-13 44.
Fort Scott....................... 10 4 10 23 -- 47
McDonald County........... 13 13 11 7 -- 44
Three-point field goals: Fort Scott 7-23 (Stark 3, DeLaTorre 2, Fink), McDonald County 3-7 (Lett 3).
Total fouls: Fort Scott 18, McDonald County 22. Fouled out: Zerr. Technical fouls: None.