EMPORIA — Highland Park’s boys led by as many as 10 points in a Class 5A quarterfinal against Hays on Wednesday.
But the Indians were able to rally back in the fourth quarter to defeat the Scots, 46-43.
Two free throws by Hays’ T.J. Nunnery with 3.6 seconds left was the difference in the game.
Juan Tario Roberts had a shot at the buzzer, but it fell short, seeing the Scots’ season end with a 15-8 mark.
"They’ve been committed all year along with everything that we’re been doing," Hi Park coach Michael Williams said. "The biggest thing right now is thinking about our guys. They fought and played hard, and had a really, really good look to force overtime."
After leading 7-5 with 5:40 to play in the first quarter, Hi Park went on an 8-0 run to lead 15-5 at the end of the first.
Hays cut the the deficit to five at 18-13 on a 3-pointer by Carson Kieffer, but the Scots outscored the Indians, 4-2, the final 1:45 to take a 22-15 advantage into halftime.
Hi Park led by nine early in the third, but Hays pulled within one on two different ocassions, with the Scots clinging to a 34-33 lead heading into the fourth.
The Indians took their first lead with 6:10 to go on a 3-pointer by T.J. Nunnery. The Scots regained a 1-point advantage at 38-37 after a Kelvin Curry bucket, but Hays got four consecutive points from Kieffer to go up 41-38.
CJ Powell knotted things up at 43 with a triple with 1:33 to play, but the Indians made enough free throws down the stretch to advance to Friday’s semifinals, where it’ll face Basehor-Linwood at 8:15 p.m. at White Audtiorium.
Powell led the Scots with 14 points, while Jahi Peppers added 10. Roberts was held to six points on 3 of 10 shootings. Hi Park finished the game 16 of 38 from the floor.
"It was a tough night for some of our main guys," Williams said. "The other two, they fought for us and gave us a chance late. To be within a possession late, (like) so many of our losses over the course of the year, that’s all you can ask for."
The Scots graduate one senior, but return everyone else for the 2020-21 season.
"We’re really young," Williams said. "We’ll have most of our pieces back next year, so we hope to be in this situation again and give us an opportunity to move on."