Bayless almost spoiled Maplewood Richmond Heights’ senior night, and much more.
With the South Central Conference championship on the line, the Bronchos went into the road game hoping to end the Blue Devils’ quest for a fourth straight league title. A Bayless win would have meant a co-championship, but the 63-58 MRH victory gave the Blue Devils another outright league championship.
Led by senior guard Tony King, MRH finished strong on Tuesday. The Blue Devils finish with a perfect 10-0 conference record, and 14-10 overall record. Bayless stands at 8-2 in conference, and 17-6 overall, with two regular season games to go before districts.
Bayless coach Pat Triplett said it wasn’t their night. “We made a lot of mistakes down the stretch, I think we had four possessions in a row down the stretch … I guess I could quote Star Wars, the forces were not with us tonight.”
“That’s what seniors are supposed to do,” MRH coach Corey Frazier said of King, who scored a game-high 28 points. “Supposed to get the ball in your hands and make plays, and he did that down the stretch. He took some tough shots and made them.”
The lead changed twice in the first quarter, with Bayless ahead 13-10 after one period. Bayless senior star guard Enis Mehmedovic found himself in foul trouble, which hindered the Bronchos early.
“I thought we were going to come out with a win,” Mehmedovic said. “We got in foul trouble early. We should have won the game. This was the game I really wanted to win.” Mehmedovic finished with 13, as did his brother, freshman forward Edin. Bayless senior guard Lamont Davenport led Bayless with 19.
King’s 10 points in the second quarter led MRH to a 31-29 edge at the half. In the third, Davenport had a three-point play to give the lead to Bayless momentarily. In the fourth quarter, King went 8-for-10 from the stripe to close the game for the Blue Devils.
“Feels real good,” King said. “Four years, four conference championships. I came out with the mentality that we were going to put them away,” he said.
MRH will host the Class 3 District 5 tourney next week. The second-seeded Blue Devils play Lift For Life on Monday.
Bayless has two more home regular season games, Brentwood and Whitfield, before districts. The Bronchos are the first seed in its district, playing the winner of the Valley Park-Kingston game on March 1 in Crystal City.