By Brandon Speck
JACKSON – Baldwyn’s motto is “Win the last game.” The last game will be remembered for one call that will last a lifetime.
In a 45-43 loss against S.V. Marshall in Thursday’s Class 2A state championship, Baldwyn (31-4) was up a point when sophomore point guard Conner McKay was called for a double dribble.
His father, Bearcats head coach Jason McKay, disagreed.
“I saw a kid dribble the basketball the right way like he has all year long,” McKay said about his son. “You can draw your own conclusion. I’ve got mine. It’s sad.”
After the call, Marshall’s Demarcus Weatherall hit two free throws to give the Tigers a 44-43 lead with 24.5 seconds to play. McKay missed in traffic on the other end and Marshall’s Okevis Alexander hit 1-of-2 from the line. Baldwyn’s back-to-back championship effort crash landed when Coby Agnew’s would-be tying shot bounced three times, then off the rim.
“Our kids put themselves in the position for the win,” Jason McKay said. “Now we’ve got to convince our kids, and we will, that sometimes things just don’t go your way and you’ve got to overcome them and have an opportunity maybe again next year.”
Weatherall scored a game-high 19 points and had nine rebounds. Marshall (27-6) outrebounded Baldwyn 37-30. McKay scored 14 for the Bearcats. Freshman Felix Hayes scored 11 and sophomore Duke Upshaw had eight points and seven rebounds.
McKay went baseline to give Baldwyn a 43-42 lead and Marshall had a turnover with a minute to play. Then the whistle.
“I didn’t feel like I did,” Conner McKay said, asked he felt like he double-dribbled. “Next thing I knew, there was a whistle.”
The pace was Baldwyn’s. The teams combined for 27 points in the third and fourth quarters. Both took 47 shots, Baldwyn’s 34 percent shooting only four points higher.
Marshall coach Antwayn Patrick defended the double dribble call.
“I thought he did,” Patrick said. “The referees actually let them play a lot. They let a lot of stuff go. Honestly I thought it was the correct call. We got one.”