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Fans making the trip to the Missouri Western State University field house at St. Joseph, Missouri saw one of the most hotly contested, epic battles of the 2021-22 high school basketball season. Stanberry got a Tyler Schwebach basket with nine seconds in regulation time.
Green City had a game tying shot blocked and missed two free throws in the final second then saw a three point try for a chance at overtime ring off the rim inches short of the mark for a 50-47 final. Stanberry (24-3) moves on to the Class 1 Show-Me Showdown in Springfield starting March 10, 2022.
Green City saw an outstanding season close with a 23-7 overall record. The Gophers finished as two time Sectional and undefeated Conference Champions. Tri-County Conference boys MVP Senior Laydon Fields played his final basketball game for Green City.
Stanberry featured a formidable inside game, led by Seniors Tyler Schwebach and Austin Schwebach. The Bulldogs were unable to score many points from the perimeter. Green City employed an innovative defense, bringing defenders from various spots on the court to double team the post.
“We struggle quite a bit from the outside,” Stanberry Coach Tyler Wendt said. “We luck one in once in a while. We have to keep shooting it to keep people honest.”
“The pressure on our ball handlers doesn’t make it easy to get the ball inside,” Taylor Wendt said. “We tried to cut the basketball inside. They were doubling. That wasn’t working either because the next guy was covering.”
“Because of the pressure, it wasn’t easy to find the open guy out of the double. Their defense was tremendous,” Taylor Wendt said. “This time of year, you have to play tremendous defense, or you would have been done by now.”
Stanberry held the Gophers to one shot most of the first half. The Bulldogs led 10-2 with 3:32 to play in the first quarter. Asher Buggs-Tipton fired in a home run ball for a 12-7 tally with 34 seconds remaining in the first period.
Laydon Fields tossed in an NBA three at the buzzer. Green City employed an 8-2 run for a 12-10 Bulldog lead after one eight minute set. Tyler Schwebach turned in a Stanberry three point play followed by Asher Buggs-Tipton connecting from three point land. Stanberry led 21-15 with 3:45 showing on the first half clock.
Green City got hot from the top of the key. Asher Buggs-Tipton hit another three for a 23-18 score with 2:20 to play in the second quarter. Grant O’ Haver scored at the buzzer for a 27-22 halftime score.
Every quarter of the contest was close on the scoreboard. Stanberry came out hot in the second half. The Bulldogs forged a 31-22 edge with 6:25 to play in the third quarter. Green City gave the Bulldogs problems with their full court pressure defense.
Aaron Peavler stole the ball and scored for a 40-36 Stanberry lead with 43 seconds to play in the period. Asher Buggs- Tipton sank a free throw for a 40-34 deficit headed to the fourth quarter.
Xander Salas took the ball the length of the court, tying the score at 41 each with 6:42 to play in the fourth period. Colby McQuinn sank a pair of Bulldog free throws for a 46-43 lead with 3:07 remaining.
Grant O’ Haver pulled the Gophers back within a point with 1:25 to go in regulation. Aaron Peavler scored with 33 seconds remaining for a 47-47 tie.
Stanberry All- State candidate Tyler Schwebach scored with nine seconds to play in regulation time for a 49-47 lead. Austin Schwebach blocked an interior try for a tie with four seconds remaining.
Stanberry players believed the game to be over as time ran down. Green City fouled Tyler Schwebach to stop the clock. The officials wound up assessing Stanberry a technical foul for their bench entering the playing area.
There were :00.8 seconds put back on the clock. Tyler Schwebach made the second of two free throws on the foul for a 50-47 lead. Neither of the technical foul free throws found the mark.
Green City made one of six free throws as a team. Stanberry sank 10-18 from the charity stripe.
Green City retained possession due to the technical foul. Green City screened off all five Stanberry defenders. Laydon Fields got the final shot off before the buzzer. The attempt rang off the rim for a 50-47 Stanberry win.
“We knew that if (Austin Schwebach) caught the ball in the post we had to double him,” Green City Coach Donnie Fields said. “We worked on it all week. They did a great job with it.:
“We wanted to wear Tyler Schwebach down pushing the ball. There were times in the second quarter he didn’t make it past half court when they were on offense because he was tired,” Coach Fields said. “I thought our boys executed our game plan to a T. We just fell a little short there at the end.”
Tyler Schwebach led all scorers with 18 Bulldog points. Austin Schwebach scored 16 points. Landon Marticke and Colby McQuinn scored eight Stanberry points each.
“It was a back and forth game the way it started out. Taylor Wendt said. “It was 10-2. Basically, we lost the game from there because it was so close. I have watched (Laydon Fields) over the years. I told him after the game that he was a great ball player.”
“He had foul trouble. I guarantee he will make that all state team. He carried that team on his back tonight. We had some luck tonight,” Taylor Wendt said. ”The ball bounced our way at times. Both teams worked hard. That’s what a quarterfinal game should look like.”
Grant O’Haver led Green City with 16 points. Asher Buggs- Tipton scored 12 points. Xander Salas scored eight points. Aaron Peavler tallied six points. Laydon Fields finished with five Gopher points.
“Defensively, they did exactly what I asked them to do. They did a great job. We wanted them to shoot those outside shots. The more three shots they took the better it was for us,” Donnie Fields said. “I don’t think they made any.”
“We missed a few rebounds that we probably should have got. We missed a few easy ones,” Coach Fields said. “But when you have got 6’6” at the rim altering shots it makes a difference.”
“We did a better job of avoiding him in the second half. We made shots,” Donnie Fields said. “We had a chance at the end. That’s about all you can ask for.
“That’s the second time I have had a game finish that way,” Fields said. “With the kids running on the court. Fortunately, I won the other one. It wouldn’t have wanted to shoot those free throws Laydon (Fields) had to shoot at the end. They don’t understand the pressure that he had on him as he stepped up to that line.
“I know he is upset. He missed the last three shots of the year,” Donnie Fields said when asked to talk about Senior Laydon Fields. “Those things are asked when you are the best player on a team. You can’t be successful all the time.”
“You don’t know how many players would have liked to have the career you have had. The guys you have had to play with. The wins you have had. All the great moments. You don’t realize what guys would do to have that experience,” Donnie Fields said of Green City’s lone basketball senior. “A lot never get to. We went to the quarterfinals the last two years.”
“We gave all the heart that we had. Grant (O’Haver) said in the locker room after the game that we left it all out there. We can’t second guess like last year. They just beat us.”