JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Jamestown Eagles boys basketball team finished in second place at the Class 1 District 9 tournament after losing to the No. 4 ranked St. Elizabeth Hornets 65-51 in the championship game Feb. 29 at Capital City High School. The Eagles end the season with a record of 17-11.
The Eagles halved an 18-point deficit during the second half of the game, but in the end, the Eagles just did not have enough time to complete the comeback.
Head coach Jay Thompson said the team never quit.
"They battled, and they believed in themselves. They don't give up," Thompson said.
En route to the championship game, Jamestown defeated the Otterville Eagles 54-39 in the first round Feb. 24 and went on to defeat the Prairie Home/Bunceton team 51-42 in the semifinal round Feb. 27.
It was a low scoring first quarter in the championship game, as Jamestown trailed St. Elizabeth 11-9 with less than three minutes to go in the quarter. Later, the Eagles would trail the Hornets 14-9 at the end of the quarter.
In the second quarter, the Eagles tied the game at 14 after a three-pointer by Mack Sorrells with just more than seven minutes left before halftime. The Hornets responded with a three-pointer of their own to retake the lead at 17-14 on their next possession. The Hornets then went on a 10-0 run to make it a 27-14 game with 4:05 left to play before halftime. Near the end of the first half, St. Elizabeth led 32-17, but a three-pointer by Sorrells made it a 32-20 game with 1:02 left in the half. Two free throws by Clark Rohrbach got the game back down to 10 points at 32-22 with less than a minute to go. Then, after forcing a change of possession on a jump ball, Tristan Jones nailed a three-pointer buzzer beater to cut the lead down to seven points at 32-25 entering halftime.
St. Elizabeth had a big third quarter to take control of the game as the Hornets outscored Jamestown 19-9. St. Elizabeth led 40-27 with 4:30 to go in the third quarter and would extend the lead to 18 points with the score at 47-29 with 1:09 left on the clock. Another three-pointer by Jones helped the Eagles cut into the lead a little bit as they made it a 47-32 game. The Hornets led 51-34 at the end of the quarter.
Thompson said the Hornets' size made it hard to finish near the basket.
"They packed the lanes so tight and make you shoot the ball from the outside and we were struggling at times," Thompson said. "We shot well, decent, but if you are not knocking down a high percentage of threes, you are not going to beat them."
The Eagles did not go down without a fight, as Sorrells made a three-pointer that made it a 53-37 game. Rohrbach then scored the next nine points for the Eagles, as the team was able to force some much-needed stops and get the game down to single digits at nine points at 55-46 with 1:11 left to play. The Eagles were in need of some help from St. Elizabeth when the Eagles started fouling to send their opponents to the free throw line. Unfortunately, St. Elizabeth took advantage of the free throws and kept the game just out of reach. Despite the Eagles making it a nine-point game two more times in the final minute, they were not able to get any closer as St. Elizabeth went 12-17 from the free throw line in the final quarter to secure the win.
Thompson said Jamestown's returning players can learn to keep growing from this season.
"Keep improving every day, never get complacent," Thompson said. "This loss hurts and they can build on it for next year."
Clark Rohrbach led the Eagles with 19 points, followed by Mack Sorrells with nine points, and Tristian Jones and Cole Higgins each with eight points.