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Goddard boys win on Jeremiah Crawford buzzer-beater

Published Feb. 16 at 11:43 p.m. | Last updated Feb. 16 at 11:41 p.m.

Jeremiah Crawford had never scored a game-winning basket in his life.

After his follow attempt fell through the net just before the buzzer and lifted Goddard to a 57-56 last-second victory over Maize South, it’s an experience the Goddard junior would recommend — even if it does come with a headache afterward.

“I still can’t believe that happened,” Crawford said 10 minutes after the final buzzer. “I got hit in the face a lot when everybody was jumping on me, but other than that, it was fun.”

Crawford’s basket capped a wild finish to a game where Goddard didn’t trail until 8.4 seconds left when Tyler White put Maize South ahead 56-55 with 8.4 seconds left by making the first of two free throws. But White missed the second attempt and instead of choosing to call his final timeout, Goddard coach Kyle Taylor decided to let the final seconds play out with Goddard in full attack mode in the open court.

Ian McSwain hurled down the left sideline, nearly losing his dribble out of bounds, but eventually turning the corner on Maize South’s defense and was left open for a tricky 5-foot floater from the left block. Meanwhile, Crawford had settled in front of the basket, unmarked by a Maize South defender. When the ball caromed off the back of the rim, Crawford was the only player to jump for the rebound and his put-back attempt wasn’t challenged either.

In a matter of seconds, Goddard had gone from losing a game it had led for nearly its entirety to a dramatic victory highlighted by the team mobbing Crawford on the court.

“That’s just how it goes sometime,” Taylor said. “It couldn’t have happened to a better kid, either. Jeremiah is probably our most improved player this year. He’s put in the work, so for him to step up and be the one to come through for us in a big moment, he earned it.”

Goddard improved to 9-9 and has won seven of its last nine games, while Maize South dropped to 7-11. Goddard is now a half-game back from Arkansas City (9-8) in its sub-state for the No. 5 seed and tied with Bishop Carroll (9-9).

Close games have been no stranger to either one of these teams. Both teams have each had six games decided by four points or less after Thursday, while eight of Maize South’s 11 losses this season have come by single-digits and five losses have been decided in the final minute.

“Hopefully we can keep this momentum going into sub-state,” Taylor said. “We’re definitely a better team now than we were before the Christmas break and hopefully we can show it in the postseason.”

Goddard jumped out to a 15-6 lead in the first quarter by playing with more energy, leading to Maize South coach Kip Schultz to call two timeouts in the first five minutes.

But the Mavericks pulled their way back to even in the second quarter behind a smooth scoring performance of sophomore Nolan Veenis, who scored a game-high 24 points. Goddard would always have a lead, but it was usually between two and six points and never more than eight in the second half.

Down 53-48 with 3:12 remaining, Maize South rallied for two straight defensive stops and two straight scores with a Veenis jumper cutting the Goddard lead to 53-52 with 1:57 left.

“I told the guys afterward that it would be okay if we won a game a little more comfortably,” Taylor said. “All of these close games are pretty stressful.”

Maize South would tie the game with 32 seconds left on an Ethan Hartig free throw following a steal on a Goddard in-bounds pass. Goddard had a chance to take the lead with nine seconds left when Blake Sullivan was fouled, but he missed both free throws and White rebounded and was fouled with 8.4 seconds left.

White would make his first and miss his second before Goddard’s dramatic game-winning follow.

McSwain led Goddard with 14 points, while Mocaby (10), Crawford (10), Brendan Patterson (7), and Sullivan (6) were all part of a balanced attack. Hartig added 11 points for Maize South.

“I’m so proud of Jeremiah for crashing the boards and being there at the right time,” Mocaby said. “This was big. I’m really happy for him.”

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MAIZE SOUTH: N. Veenis 24, E. Hartig 11, T. White 7, K. Kordonowy 5, B. Wiedemann 4, H. Bontrager 3, T. Konblauch 2.

GODDARD: I. McSwain 14, B. Mocaby 10, J. Crawford 10, B. Patterson 7, B. Sullivan 6, T. Johnson 6, C. Morrow 4.

Taylor Eldridge: 316-268-6270, @vkeldridge

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