By ANDY WOLF
ARCADIA — Cory-Rawson’s boys basketball team survived an unusually close call at the buzzer on Friday night.
In the frantic final seconds, Arcadia’s Josh Cassell drove free down the lane for a layup as time expired — only to instantly remember his team was behind by three points.
His shot counted but the Hornets earned a 54-53 Blanchard Valley Conference boys basketball road victory.
Arcadia coach Clay Baker said he reiterated to Cassell in the locker room “that’s not why we lost this game.”
“It is a teaching moment,” Baker said. “…We tried to reiterate him ‘You’ve got to know, you’ve just got to understand time, situation.’ We try to replicate that in practice a lot.
“No kid feels worse right now than him. We’re trying to reiterate the point ‘That’s not why we lost this game.’ We’ve got to play better throughout all four quarters.”
Cory-Rawson improved to 7-10 overall, 2-6 in the BVC behind Carson Houck’s 19 points and Tommy Stauffer’s 18 points and three steals.
Arcadia dropped to 8-10, 4-4.
Cassell, who finished with a team-high 13 points, was a huge cog in the Redskins’ late comeback attempt.
His and-one play off a putback with 1:21 remaining brought Arcadia within 53-46. Though he missed the free throw, the Redskins got the rebound and, two attempts later, Logan Boes swished in a 3-pointer.
Two possessions later, Cassell came up with a steal in the back court and dished to Justen Stoner in a 2-on-1 to cut Cory-Rawson’s lead to 53-51 with 28.4 seconds left.
The fouling Redskins sent Matt White to the free-throw line with 6.7 to go.
White knocked in the crucial first free throw, yet missed the second and the Redskins quickly turned up the court.
The point turned out to be enough as the Hornets sank 7 of 9 at the foul line in the fourth quarter.
“Obviously, we have to battle for everything we get,” Cory-Rawson coach Al Thomas said. “We knew it was going to be a fight down to the end.
“Tommy fouls out at the end (1:46 to go); he’s one of our major ball handlers, scorers, defenders. Our kids hung in there and found a way to win at the end.”
Cory-Rawson, which swing the game around on a 9-0 run midway through the third quarter, took a 39-37 into the fourth.
Minutes in, Houck, the BVC’s fourth-leading scorer at 16.2 points per game, banged in back-to-back 3-pointers to give his team a 47-38 lead with 4:01 remaining.
“Carson struggled shooting and we knew he was going to make some,” Thomas said. “The odds are he’s going to make a couple.
“We told him to keep shooting and obviously he got loose a couple times, got lost in transition and made a couple big 3s to get us ahead.”
Meanwhile, Arcadia didn’t start the fourth quarter so hot.
The Redskins went the first 5:41 without a field goal — missing their first five shots and going 1 of 4 at the line with two turnovers.
The stretch of empty possessions was reminiscent of committing five straight turnovers during Cory-Rawson’s 9-0 run in a 1:48 span in the third quarter.
“We would move the ball, move the ball well and be late on our dump-down pass after the ball gets into the high post,” Baker said. “Then we would not ball fake the zone and guys were just reading our eyes and we’d travel against it and you can’t turn the ball over that many times against a 2-3 zone.”
Arcadia finished with 18 turnovers and shot just 40 percent (18 of 45).
Stoner added 10 points while Hayden Rader had seven points, six rebounds, two assists, five steals and a block for the Redskins.
Leo Miracle chipped in three points, a team-high eight boards and two steals for C-R.
CORY-RAWSON (7-10, 2-6 BVC)
Tinman 0-0–0, White 2-3–7, Houck 6-4–19, Zuercher 1-3–5, Stauffer 8-0–18, Lee 1-0–2, Miracle 1-0–3. TOTALS: 19-35 10-13 — 54.
ARCADIA (8-10, 4-4 BVC)
Cassell 4-5–13, Boes 2-1–7, Rader 2-3–7, Stoner 3-2–10, Guillen 0-1–1, Cohee 3-0–6, Peace 4-1–9. TOTALS: 18-45 13-22 — 53.
Cory-Rawson 11 15 13 15 — 54
Arcadia 16 11 10 16 — 53
3-Point GOALS: Cory-Rawson 6-14 (Houck 3, Stauffer 2, Miracle); Arcadia 4-13 (Stoner & Boes 2).
rebounds: Cory-Rawson 23 (Miracle 8); Arcadia 25 (Rader 6).
turnovers: Cory-Rawson 19; Arcadia 18.
junior varsity: Cory-Rawson, 34-26.