Hayti falls to Van-Far 56-55 in OT in Class 2 boys basketball final
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The Hayti Indians played with a lead most of the way but ultimately finished a basket shy of securing its first state title in boys basketball since 1983 Friday night.
The Van-Far Indians rallied from a 50-42 deficit in the final two minutes of regulation to force overtime and hit a 2-pointer with four seconds left in the extra session to edge Hayti 56-55 in the Class 2 state championship at JQH Arena in Springfield.
“We lost,” Hayti coach Aaron Bidewell said in a press conference, when asked about his overall thoughts on the title game. “We had a bunch of kids that wanted to win very badly. [Van-Far] made some plays, and hats off to them because they made plays late and we did not.”
Van-Far never led in the second half until it recorded the final field goal of overtime.
Senior guard Kobe Cooper hit a 2-pointer to put Hayti on top 52-50 with 3:36 left in overtime. Van-Far forward Verlyn Johnson followed with a 2-pointer of his own to tie things up at 52-52 with 2:42 left. Junior guard Chrivantae Moore responded with a 3-pointer 18 seconds later to put Hayti on top 55-52.
Lathyn McMorris brought Van-Far closer when he hit a 2-pointer to cut the deficit to 55-54 with 54 seconds left.
After the field goal by McMorris, Hayti melted the clock to 14 seconds before it was fouled. Chrivantae Moore missed the front-end of a one-and-one. Van Far’s Joshua Moore rebounded the miss and pushed the ball to half court where Van-Far burned its final timeout with eight seconds left.
Following the timeout, Van-Far threw an inbound pass a few feet to the left of the basket to an open Trey Miller. The six-foot-two junior forward penetrated and hit a 2-pointer to put Van-Far on top 56-55 with four seconds left.
“We were in the huddle and coach said, ‘You are the biggest bull in the yard. Brayden is going to screen for you and there is nobody that can stop you,” Miller said of the game-winning shot. “When I got the ball nobody was there and I just stuck it up and scored.”
Hayti point guard Darius Jones managed to push the ball to half-court following Miller’s field goal. The play was whistled dead when the ball was kicked with six tenths of a second remaining.
Hayti burned two additional timeouts before Chrivantae Moore inbounded the ball at half court. Van-Far managed to deflect the inbound pass, thrown in the direction of the Hayti basket, up in the air. Time expired before Hayti could recover from the deflection and get a shot off.
“We wanted to throw it at the rim because Kobe Cooper can jump,” Bidewell said of the final play. “But they put length on the ball, which was very intelligent.”
Hayti enjoyed a double digit lead at 17-7 at the end of the first quarter and led by as much as 23-10 with 5:22 left in the second quarter before Van-Far trimmed the margin to 27-20 by halftime.
“A high emphasis for all of our kids was rebounding and defensive positioning,” Bidewell said. “Our focus on defense and rebounding was high in the first quarter and it kind of dropped off from there.”
Hayti increased its lead to 39-30 by the start of the fourth period and continued to lead 50-42 with 1:49 left in regulation.
Van-Far recorded the final eight points of the fourth quarter in a spurt that concluded with Miller knocking down a 2-pointer with 32 seconds left to tie things up at 50-all.
Hayti elected to hold for the final shot of the fourth quarter following Miller’s field goal. Darius Jones penetrated inside the free throw line and fired a shot at the basket with about two seconds left that made contact with the rim but did not fall.
“We came here as a family and worked hard,” Hayti junior Jerrod Covington said. “We just came up short.”
Van-Far shot 40 percent (21 of 53) from the field. Hayti shot 34 percent (21 of 61).
Hayti brought down 39 rebounds and Van-Far managed 38 rebounds.
Van-Far recorded 30 of its 56 points in the paint
“Our post players can handle the ball,” Van-Far coach Patt Connaway said. “Most teams we play don’t have that luxury. We can spread the floor out and have them put the ball on the floor to break a press. We are lucky to have them.”
Miller finished with a team-high 16 points for Van-Far. Jones also tallied 16 points for Hayti.
Van-Far’s Lathyn McMorris and Hayti’s Ivory Winters also scored in double digits. Winters managed 13 points on three free throws and five 2-pointers. McMorris tallied 15 points three treys and three 2-pointers.
Van-Far finishes its season with a record of 29-3 and its second state title in school history. Van-Far also took home the top prize in 2004.
Hayti finishes its season with a record of 24-6.
“It was a great experience,” Hayti junior Chrivantae Moore said. “You are most likely to see us next year.”
Hayti graduates four seniors - Kobe Cooper, Darius Jones, Jaishaud Moore and Deva’nte Robinson. Hayti also returns four juniors who played at least 13 minutes in Friday’s state championship.
“We as a coaching staff are going to give them our very best in the offseason and the time to come. We are excited about the challenge moving forward,” Bidewell said. “But we’ve got four hurting seniors right now, so we don’t want to look too much into the future. The four seniors have made an unbelieveable contribution to our program.
“With that being said, the Good Lord takes care of all things,” Bidewell added. “I know they will be successful young men in the future. They’ve given their all to this program. We’ve made a statement from the beginning of the season, ‘We were going to put God first,’ and we are not going to stop doing that just because of this loss.”
Van-Far 56, Hayti 55
HHS 17 10 12 11 5 - 55
VFS 7 13 10 20 6 -56
HAYTI (55) - Ivory Winters 13, Jaishaud Moore 4, Kobe Cooper 4, Darius Jones 16, Jerrod Covington 8, Nakwon Harris 2, Chrivantae Moore 8. FG 21, FT 8/11, F 16. (3-pointers: Chrivantae Moore 2, Jones 2, Covington 1; Fouled out: None).
VAN-FAR (56) - Brayden Christian 2, Trey Miller 16, Caden Wilburn 7, Lathyn McMorris 15, Joshua Hodde 7, Verlyn Johnson 6, Treyson Culwell 3. FG 21, FT 9/16, F 12. (3-pointers: McMorris 3, Culwell 1, Wilburn 1; Fouled out: None).