INMAN — As Inman star point guard Payton Froese drilled a step-back 3-pointer as the third quarter expired, it seemed as though Inman was ready to put away a determined Moundridge team.
The Wildcats had an extra gear from the opening tip, but the Teutons are the top-ranked team in Class 2A for a reason.
In the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, Inman amassed a 44-35 lead that could have easily been the end.
But then the 3s kept coming and coming from Moundridge.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Remington Creed cut the lead to six. A Dillon Vogts fadeaway 3 made it a one-possession game, but Froese continued to knock down free throws when Moundridge had to foul.
After a wacky possession which featured two Moundridge offensive rebounds, Korbin Wedel connected on a 3 to make it a 46-44 Inman lead with 19 seconds left. Again, Froese made two free throws to extend the lead up to four.
But the Wildcats fought to the end, and Vogts hit another 3 to make it a one-point game. Moundridge fouled before the ball could be inbounded, sending Froese to the line with 5.7 seconds left. Froese missed the first before making the second to make it 49-47.
The Wildcats quickly inbounded the ball to Vogts who speedily ran the ball up the court. Although it wasn’t a great look, Vogts was still able to get off a shot that struck panic into the Inman faithful.
But the ball was off target, and Inman remained undefeated with a well-earned victory over its rivals.
Inman has six seniors on its roster, and head coach Brett Froese wanted them to enjoy their last showdown with Moundridge.
“I told my six seniors that this was the last time they would get to play them; this was it,” Coach Froese said. “I think they felt like it got closer than it should have.”
Moundridge head coach Vance Unrau and assistant coach Bo Moddelmog had a good game plan and their kids left it all on the court.
“Win or lose it was a fun game to be a part of,” Unrau said. “Gotta give coach Moddelmog all the credit. He’s the one who did all the research and came up with an offensive plan to go against this diamond-and-one that they were playing.”
After Moundridge jumped out to a 6-2 lead, Inman ended the first quarter on a 10-0 run which concluded with Froese picking Vogts’ pocket and scoring a layup with two seconds left.
Creed kept the Wildcats in the game with two 3-pointers in the second quarter, but the Teutons ended on an 8-2 run to take a 23-16 lead into halftime.
The Teutons led by about three possessions nearly the entire second half. But the final 90 seconds belonged to Moundridge, making the sold out crowd stay in their seats until the very end.
“We had a huge, great crowd tonight,” Coach Froese said. “I’m not sure where else in the state of Kansas it was like this tonight.
Froese led all scorers with 23 points. Jace Doerksen and Jordan Friesen scored seven a piece for Inman. Moundridge did an excellent job on Inman star Mason Thiessen, who was held to four points.
“We gave ourselves a chance tonight, and that’s all you can ask of your kids,” Unrau said.
Creed was the most consistent offensive player of the night for Moundridge, finishing with a team-high 15 points on five 3s. Vogts scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half, while Brady Helms chipped in 10.
With the win, Inman completed the season sweep of Moundridge. The second installment was much closer than the 57-30 Inman victory on Dec. 7 in Moundridge.