It was senior night at Southwood and they were taking on previously ranked #1 Bluffon and a huge front line that featured 6’10” center Keith Cochran. The Tiger front line’s smallest player was 6’5”, but in the end the shorter Knights had bigger hearts in a 61-57 come back win.
Bluffton got on the board first, but the Knights stayed with them on a bucket from Codie Shafer and a three from Devin Dale to put Southwood up 5-4. Bluffton would go on a 10-3 run to end the quarter and lead 14-8 after one. Four Knights scored in the quarter lead by Dale’s three.
The second quarter didn’t get much better for Southwood. Bluffton scored the first 7 points of the quarter to open a 21-8 lead. Southwood would slowly start to creep back in. Connor Hobbs hit two free throws, followed by a free throw and a bucket from Mike Cook to cut the lead to 21-13. Bluffton immediately answered with a three, building the lead back to 11 points before a Levi Winget free throw and two from Cook kept the Knights close. Bluffton lead at the half 29-20.
The taller Tigers hit the first two buckets of the second half to push the lead to 13 at 33-20 before Hobbs drained a three to stop the bleeding. After a Levi Winget bucket and another Hobbs three Southwood was within 8 points at 36-28. After a mike Cook three made it 39-31 Bluffton out scored Southwood 8-3 down the stretch for a 47-34 lead heading in to the final quarter and it didn’t look as though Southwood had an answer to stop the Tigers.
Sometimes a good defense is a great offense and the Southwood offense exploded in the fourth quarter. Levi Winget drained a three to start the quarter to cut the lead to 10. Bluffton hit two free throws before Collin Huston drove to the bucket, was fouled and converted an old fashion three to draw within 49-40. Bluffton got clicking again and built the lead back to 55-42 and things were looking bleak. With 5 minutes to play the Knights had a one last run in them to make senior night a memorable one. Cook hit two free throws, followed by a Huston three and it was 55-47 with 4:23 to go. The Knight pressure defense forced a 10 second count on Bluffton. With 4:02 remaining, Huston connected on his second three of the quarter and it was 55-50 and Bluffton calling time out. The Southwood defense held again and this time it was Hobbs hitting to make it 55-52. After two Bluffton free throws made it 57-52, Shafer hit and was followed by a Hobbs three to tie the score at 57 with 2:24 to play. The Southwood defense had Bluffton rattled and made the stop again. With 1:44 to go, Dalton Gentry hit his second bucket of the game and Southwood lead 59-57 in a game they trailed the entire time. After a Hobbs free throw made it 60-57 with 45.7 to go, Bluffton worked for a game tying three which did not connect and ended up fouling Cook with 16.6 left. Cook hit one free throw to make it 61-57. Bluffton raced down the floor, throwing up a failed three, but it was to late as the Knight come back was complete.
Southwood shot 37% from the field, connecting on 8 three pointers. The Knights were 65% from the free throw line, out rebounded the taller Tigers 26-23, committed just 8 turn overs and scored 13 points off Bluffton turn overs.
Leading Southwood was Connor Hobbs and Mike Cook with 16 points each. Collin Huston had 12, Levi Winget 6, Dalton Gentry and Codie Shafer 4 and Devin Dale 3.