No. 1 and No. 3 in Class 6A lived up to its billing, but the green and white sat just shy of an upset of its rival.
Senior Tre Washington led three Derby (6-1) players in double figures with 14 points, but a turnover on its final possession sealed a 56-53 Campus win.
The Panthers withstood runs of six, eight and 13 unanswered from the Colts (7-0), but fourth-quarter miscues kept the game out of reach.
“That was two really, really good teams playing and everyone is going to have runs,” coach Brett Flory said. “… There were just a couple of minor turnovers and mistakes that turned into turnovers. Good teams convert those going into the other end and that’s the No. 1 team in the state [for a reason].”
Junior Isaac Ray and senior Nick Bonner, who each scored 12 points, hit a pair of 3s on Derby’s first two possessions to open a 6-0 lead. A scoring drought of nearly six minutes, however, led to a 13-6 Campus lead.
Washington scored eight of his points in the second quarter, helping Derby jump out to a 28-23 lead with 1:10 remaining in the first half.
Campus electrified its home crowd with eight points in the final 70 seconds, taking a 31-28 lead into halftime. It was capped by an off-balance 3 from Steele Chapman at the buzzer.
While Derby dealt with a distinct height advantage in the paint, its guards put Campus starters Shawn Warrior (6-5), Thomas King (6-6) and Keither Florence (6-7) on the bench with two fouls apiece in the first half.
Even with missed chances on the defensive and offensive glass, Flory said he felt his players handled the mismatches almost as well as they could have.
“We fought as hard as we could,” Flory said. “It’s hard to get a mentality that you can’t take any shot for granted. You have to go hit someone [on a rebound].”
Bonner cut Derby’s deficit to 33-31 just over a minute into the third quarter, giving him 12 points through the game’s first 17 minutes.
Coach Brett Flory’s crew outscored Campus 10-7 through the third quarter. However, after tying the game, 42-42, on a pair of Washington free throws with 6:46 remaining, its opposition never trailed.
“When you play another great team, it’s a game of inches,” Flory said. “One or two mistakes, even small ones, bounces that don’t go your way and that ends up being the difference. We competed our tails off.”
The Panthers were given a late boost when Warrior fouled Ray on a 3-pointer with 4:02 remaining. The junior hit all three foul shots to make it a 48-45 deficit, but the Colts kept them at bay with a quick five-point stretch over its next two possessions.
Derby had two chances to tie the game in the final 75 seconds, but a Washington 3 went long and a ball of the back of a heel in the final seven seconds kept them off the scoreboard.
CAMPUS: 15 16 7 18— 56
DERBY: 10 18 10 15— 53
COLTS: Ster. Chapman 14, Warrior 12, King 10, Johnson 8, Stee. Chapman 5, Florence 5, Hall 2.
PANTHERS: Washington 14, Ray 12, Bonner 12, Karsak 8, Araujo 4, J. Clemons 3.