EMPORIA — Time seemed to freeze as Bucklin High School’s Morgan Hood put up a shot from the free-throw line.
With the score tied at 36 and time draining off the clock, Hood’s shot went in as time expired to give the Lady Red Aces a 38-36 win over St. John-Hudson in a Class 1A Division-I state tournament third-place game.
Bucklin closes the season at 19-5. The Lady Tigers fall to 21-4.
“I think we let yesterday’s loss beat us twice,” St. John head coach Danny Smith said, alluding to his team’s 47-41 loss to Hoxie on Friday in a semifinal game. “We were sluggish. We didn’t execute on offense. We didn’t rebound. We didn’t do anything that we wanted to do.”
With four minutes remaining in the game, Bucklin’s Alexis Cossell dropped in a jumper to give the Lady Red Aces a 32-30 advantage.
St. John’s Alexis Witt followed that with a pair of free throws at the other end.
With 1:36 on the clock, Hood rolled in a shot off the glass and hit a free throw for a three-point play to go ahead 35-32.
Jamie Waters got fouled going up for a putback. She sank both free throws to close the gap to 35-34 with 36.2 remaining.
Teresa Christie put in a layup with 28.9 left on the clock, giving the Lady Tigers their first lead since early in the third quarter.
Bucklin’s Janae Price made the back end of two free throws to tie the game at 36 with 25.8 left.
Allyson Rudd got a steal for the Lady Red Aces. They had one shot with six seconds left after a timeout.
“We wanted to take the last shot,” Smith said. “We set up to take the last shot, we just rushed it. We did that the whole game.”
Hood, who finished with a game-high 19 points, took the inbounds pass and dropped in a shot from the free-throw line as the buzzer sounded.
The Lady Tigers shot 10-for-38 from the field (26.3 percent), and just 1-for-18 from beyond the arc (5.6 percent).
From the moment that Christie went down after a hard foul in the lane just minutes into the game, the Lady Tigers didn’t look quite on their game.
Christie came back in the game in the first quarter. She went 5-for-7 from the field, scoring a team-high 14 points, but just 4-for-13 from the free-throw line.
Witt still led a 9-0 St. John run that gave the Lady Tigers, who were runners-up last season after losing 55-45 to Hoxie in the state championship game, a 14-5 lead with less than a minute remaining in the first quarter.
Senior Morgan Osborne sparked the run with a pair of free throws.
Witt who scored 11 points in the first half, followed with three baskets in the paint. She tacked on a free throw to the end of the final basket for a three-point play to end the run.
Witt, who led the Lady Tigers in scoring in the first two state tournament games, finished with 13 points.
“She just really came on strong in the end of the season,” Smith said of Witt. “We’ve been telling her and Teresa all season that the more they do that, the more pressure they take off our guards.”
The Lady Red Aces battled back in the second quarter, leveling the score at 20 at intermission.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Class 1A Division-I State Tournament
Bucklin 38, St. John-Hudson 36
ST. JOHN (21-4)
Tia Smith 1-6 0-0 3, Morgan Osborne 0-5 2-2 2, Jamie Waters 1-11 2-4 4, Alexis Witt 3-6 7-8 13, Teresa Christie 5-7 4-13 14, Jessica Hanson 0-3 0-0 0, Tara Christie 0-0 0-0 0, Madeline Lippoldt 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 10-38 15-27 36.
Gentry Stout 1-5 1-4 3, Janae Price 1-5 1-3 3, Alexis Cossell 2-2 2-4 5, Morgan Hood 6-11 7-8 19, Allyson Rudd 2-6 0-0 6, Charmayne Austin 0-0 0-1 0, Haylie Pegelow 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 12-29 12-22 38.
St. John 14 6 6 10 — 36
Bucklin 9 11 6 12 — 38
Three-point goals — St. John 1-18 (Smith 1-5, Waters 0-7, Hanson 0-3, Osborne 0-3); Bucklin 2-7 (Rudd 2-4, Hood 0-2, Price 0-1). Total fouls — St. John 21, Bucklin 19. Fouled out — Bucklin (Cossell); St. John (None).