With the score tied and time running out, Jefferson City’s Harold Robertson Jr. won the game for the Jays over Pacific, 68-65.
Robertson drilled a three-pointer with 1.2 seconds left on the clock to give Jefferson City a three-point advantage Saturday at the Bank of Sullivan Shootout.
Following a timeout, Pacific’s Cullen VanLeer nearly sent the game into overtime with a half-court shot that bounced off the back of the rim.
Jefferson City, coached by former Sullivan Coach Blair, Thompson, escaped with a 68-65 win at Sullivan High School.
“The kid made the shot to win it. That’s two losses we have at the end of games. I thought Cullen’s shot was in there at the end to go into overtime, but you can’t rely on a half-court shot like that,” said Pacific Head Coach John VanLeer. “I’m happy with how our guys played. We got beat on the boards. We didn’t block out well enough and that was the difference in the game.”
Noah Boyer led the way for Pacific with hot shooting from the outside to score 16 points. He was named to the all-shootout second team.
Cullen VanLeer finished the game with 11 points. Tanner Brown added 10 points, all in the second half. Logan Armstrong also netted 10 points, eight in the first half.
Zeth Boyer and Neil DeBold both scored with six points. Boyer was in foul trouble for most of the game. Jeffrey Hinkle netted four points. Brendan Jett-Kell had two points.
“Logan had a great game. He came off the bench, made some shots and carried us in the post when Zeth got in foul trouble,” VanLeer said. “Noah also had a great game. He made a lot of shots. Zeth was in foul trouble, but played well when he was in the game. I’m pleased with how everyone played. Cullen didn’t shoot it from three well, but he did some other things really well.”
Jefferson City relied on the outside shooting of Robertson, Deshon Williams and Ogugua Anunoby and the inside presence of 6-5 senior Scott Stegeman, who scored 19 points.
The Indians (6-4) started strong, jumping to leads of 5-0, 11-7 and 15-8 after one quarter.
The Jays (5-4) got things going offensively in the second quarter, outscoring the Indians 20-15.
Pacific held a 30-28 halftime advantage.
“Our defense was pretty solid,” VanLeer said. “We had some breakdowns in the second quarter, letting them score 20 points. We gave them too many offensive boards.”
Both teams held leads in both the third and fourth quarters.
Jefferson City led 42-37 midway through the third quarter, but a spurt where Brown scored nine points in the final three minutes of the third period helped the Indians to a 55-54 advantage heading into the final eight minutes.
Trailing 65-61 with just under two minutes left, Pacific tied the game on a three-pointer by Noah Boyer with 1:16 remaining and a free throw by VanLeer with 31 seconds left.
That set up the final possession for the Jays, who called a pair of timeouts in the final 30 seconds to help set up the winning three-point basket.
Pacific suffered a pair of highly competitive losses during the week to Washington and Jefferson City.
“I told our kids after the game that we’re a pretty good team. We’re not really good yet because we have to figure out how to win these type of games,” VanLeer said. “We made our schedule tough to try to get us ready for the end of the season. It’s only going to make us better playing these teams. Our last two games were close games against big, strong, physical teams. I’m proud of the effort.”
Pacific returns to action at the Owensville Tournament Jan. 2-5.
The top-seeded Indians play eighth-seeded Steelville Wednesday, Jan. 2, at 4 p.m.
“We’re going to have our hands full. We start with Steelville, but Sullivan is the No. 2 seed. We’ve played Salem before and they’re the No. 5 seed. Hermann and Cuba are in there,” VanLeer said. “We’ll take a few days off and then get back to practice and fix some things that aren’t quite where they need to be.”