ALLEN, Texas -- A risky inbounds play nearly cost Flower Mound Marcus its season against Jesuit on Monday.
With three seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Marcus forward Marcus Smart bounced the ball at the feet of Jesuit forward Josh Bauer to try to get the clock moving, as Jesuit kept fouling the Marauders before play could begin.
Bauer, however, snatched up the ball and threw up a desperation shot. It bounced off the front of the rim at the buzzer, and Marcus escaped with a 46-45 win in the Class 5A Region I quarterfinals at Allen High School.
All's well that ends well for Smart. He was one of four players to finish with a game-high 14 points, along with Marcus guard Phil Forte and Jesuit's Josh Bauer and James Leinbaugh.
And it was Smart's layup that proved the difference for Marcus. His shot bounced off the front of the rim twice before falling in for what turned out to be the game-winning bucket.
The inbounds-pass-gone-wrong capped a tense fourth quarter that saw six lead changes. The final frame began with the score tied at 39. Forte opened it with a 3-pointer, and the two teams traded buckets from there.
Jesuit came out hot in the first quarter as it raced out to an 18-9 lead behind four 3-pointers, two from Leinbaugh.
Marcus' fortunes began to turn in the second quarter when it tightened its defense. A 9-2 Marcus run tied the score at 23.
"We just had to contest their shots better," said Marcus coach Danny Henderson. "A team can be dangerous when you let them get hot like that. Midway through the second quarter we started defending them better."
Offense was hard to come by for either team in the second half. Jesuit's Chris Udofia finished with eight blocks and didn't give Marcus anything inside. Neither team could find separation as the game was tied at half and going into the fourth.
"Udofia just erases their mistakes," Henderson said. "We beat them on penetration over and over again but we couldn't capitalize because of him."