LINCOLN — Paxton outscored Arapahoe 8-3 in the final minute Thursday to stay undefeated and advance to the semifinals of the Class D-1 state boys basketball tournament in Lincoln.
Led by Cody Corfield’s 23 points, the Tigers improved to 26-0 with a 50-47 victory at Lincoln North Star High School.
“If you weren’t a man in that game, you weren’t going to win,” Paxton coach Jody Rhodes said. “If you weren’t a man under the basket, you weren’t going to get the ball because that was sterngth against strength.”
Paxton trailed 44-42 when reserve Jack Babbitt grabbed one of the Tigers’ six offensive rebounds and scored the putback to tie the game with just under a minute to play.
“We needed that last rebound and we just didn’t get it. That kid out-fought us for it,” Arapahoe coach Bob Braithwait said. “He made the play and we didn’t.
“If that doesn’t go in, we’ve got the lead and the ball and we’re shooting free throws.”
Instead, Paxton went to the line where Corfield converted 4 of 4 free throws. He also answered Arapahoe’s last basket by scoring on an inbounds run-out with six seconds left.
Corfield’s four free throws gave Paxton its biggest lead of the day, 48-44.
“We knew that was going to be the most tenacious defense we’ve faced, and it was,” Rhodes said.
Arapahoe (24-5) had three players score in double figures – Wyatt Anderson with 15, Stefan Milovanovic with 11 and Isaac Watson with 10.
Milovanovic, a 6-7 exchange student from Serbia, grabbed eight rebounds as did the 6-2 Anderson. Their offensive presence kept the Warriors in the game, but making just 11 of 21 free throws limited their effectiveness.
“You can get it in there all day long, but if you don’t convert, you don’t convert,” Braithwaite said.
Paxton (26-0)..........................11 10 13 16—50
Arapahoe (24-5)..........................18 3 11 15—47
P: Cody Corfield 23, Zachary Moreland 9, Kyle Storer 6, Tristan Brott 6, Jake Babbitt 4, Carrick Perlinger 2.
A: Wyatt Anderson 15, Stevan Milovanovic 11, Isaac Watson 10, Gage Schutz 9, Caden Weverka 2.