Aaron Colen, Sports Editor, Aaron.Colen@chickashanews.com
In a physical game between the Rush Springs (3-11) and Alex High School (10-7) boys basketball teams, it was a shot by Jakobi Mays that went in despite a foul that gave Rush Springs the win Monday in Minco.
The Redskins won 41-40 in the first round of the Grady County Tournament over the Longhorns, holding off a late charge by Alex after Rush Springs led for most of the game.
Alex was playing without senior post player Zach Mainka, who has been out with an injury for the last few weeks, but said he should be back after the district playoffs.
Alex beat Rush Springs 66-45 on Dec. 11, in Rush Springs. Mainka played in that game.
"It hurts them a ton," Rush Springs head coach Tim Johnson said about Mainka not playing for the Longhorns. "They beat us by 20 the first time, and he had 14 down low on us, and that hurt us."
Rush Springs led the entire first half, but in the third quarter the Longhorns turned up their man-to-man pressure defense, forced some turnovers, and tied the game at 27 going into the fourth quarter.
The Longhorns were up 40-38 with 24.9 seconds remaining, after Shaedon Castor made one of two free throws on a non-shooting foul.
That's when Mays took things into his own hands, driving right and hitting a short fadeaway jumper while getting fouled, and hitting the go-ahead free throw, leaving 15.6 seconds on the clock.
"The guy hit his arm, and I didn't even know if the shot was going to get to the rim," Johnson said. "I knew he was going to get to the foul line, but it was just the extra glory for it to actually go in."
Dalton Payne missed a 3-point shot at the buzzer on Alex's last possesion.
The Redskins are scheduled to play the winner of the game between OCA and Verden at 5:30 p.m. Friday, and Alex will play the loser of that game at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.