FORT GIBSON — Connor Calavan found himself open with time running down and drained a 3-point shot with 3.1 seconds left to give Fort Gibson a thrilling come-from-behind 55-52 win over Hilldale in a battle of top 20 ranked Class 4A teams at Harrison Field House on Tuesday night.
“Sometimes you have kids that do things that you just can’t coach,” said Tigers coach Todd Dickerson. “We’ve been fortunate to have several of those over the years here at Fort Gibson and Connor is just another one.”
Earlier in the fourth quarter, Calavan drained a three from about 24 feet out to pull the Tigers (5-1) to within a point at 51-50.
“I live for stuff like this,” said the senior forward. “That’s a shot that you dream about as a little kid. Playing against your rival in a tied game and you get an open shot. I just wanted to knock that one down for everyone here.”
The game rocked back and forth from the outset. After the Hornets grabbed an early 9-3 lead, Fort Gibson ran off 12 unanswered points to take the lead at 15-9. They stretched the lead to 29-22. but TJ Maxwell connected on back-to-back treys to pull Hilldale back to within a point. Then Rylan Nail hit a bucket and Trey Cundiff hit two from beyond the arc to give the Hornets a 36-31 halftime lead.
Hilldale (7-2) led by as many as seven at one point early in the fourth quarter until Jaxon Blunt nailed a 3 to pull the Tigers back to within four at 49-45.It was 51-47 before Calavan’s NBA-style trey made it a one-point game.
The Hornets had opportunities late but Maxwell and Brayson Lawson both missed the front end of one-and-one chances setting up the final heroics. Tommy French, who led all scorers with 18 points, put the Tigers up 52-51 with 2:13 to play. Hunter Parson hit one of two charities for the Hornets to tie it at 52 all with 1:55 left setting the stage for Calavan’s last-second shot.
“Both teams played their guts out and one team wins and one loses and tonight it wasn’t us. But I’m extremely proud of our guys,” said Hilldale coach Scott Hensley. “We really came together and played defense well, helping each other, covering up for each other, blocking people out and playing physical.”
Calavan joined French in double figures with 17 points and Blunt added 16 for the Tigers while Hunter Parson was the leading scorer for the Hornets with 12 points and Maxwell tossed in 11.
Both teams are off for the holiday break and will next be in action in the Bedouin Shrine Tournament in January.
Girls: Fort Gibson 57, Hilldale 21
The only hiccup for Fort Gibson was some early foul trouble that forced coach Chuck London to his bench early but also provided a learning opportunity for his team.
“Usually when a girl gets two fouls we pull them out but tonight I put them back in because I felt like we needed the minutes together and it was a time for us to see if we could trust kids to play smart in foul trouble,” London said.
Fort Gibson led 20-5 after one quarter and 22-8 at half. The Tigers forced 11 turnovers in the third as they blew the game open while limiting Hilldale to 7-of-33 shooting for the game.
“I don’t know if it was just the atmosphere or what but we came out timid offensively and it stayed that way till about midway through the fourth quarter,” said Hilldale coach Clif Warford. “The effort on offense really disappointed me especially in that third quarter.”
Reese Webb’s 21 points led FTG and Baylee London added 11. Carson Eichling and Navaeh Johnson both had five points for Hilldale (4-4).