NIXA, Mo. -- The Willard Tigers gave the fans at Nixa something to cheer for on Thursday night, as the Tigers overcame several deficits and a horrendous start to come back and defeat Kansas City Hogan Prep 74-71.
The game remained in doubt until the final buzzer sounded, as Willard got a huge rebound on a Hogan Prep desperation three pointer to seal the win. Hogan Prep looked like a team on their way to an easy victory in the first quarter, as they jumped out to an 18-11 first quarter lead on Willard. Willard did not allow Hogan Prep to gain too large of a lead, however, and sophomore Chris Kendrix hit several big shots to bring Willard to within 33-32 at the half.
Willard sophomore sensation Chris Kendrix continued his solid play in the second half, and certainly impressed Missouri State Bears coach Paul Lusk, who was in attendance for the game. Willard outscored Hogan Prep 24-18 in the third quarter to take a 56-51 lead over Hogan Prep going into the fourth quarter.
Kendrix wowed the crowd with several thunderous dunks throughout the second half, including a tomahawk jam reminiscent of former Atlanta Hawk Dominique "The Human Highlight Film" Wilkins. The game remained close throughout the fourth quarter, yet two late free throws by Grant Williamson gave Willard a late three point lead. Hogan Prep missed several late threes, and Willard advanced to the winner’s bracket game versus Mt. Vernon at 9 p.m. Friday night.
Hogan Prep will play St. Joe Lafayette in the consolation round Friday at 4:30. Kendrix led Willard with 34 points, while Damon Wester scored 20 and Sky Frazier added 11. Maurice Mason scored 20 for Hogan Prep, Broderick Newbill 23, and Amaad Wainright added 13.