With the game tied and the final seconds ticking away in Skidmore-Tynan’s home contest with Mathis on Jan. 29, everyone inside the DuBose Special Events Center figured that the ball would be in the hands of Kade Florence.
The senior had already drilled a career high nine 3-pointers to put his team in position to win, so it only made sense to let him take the final shot.
That’s not what happened, though.
Instead, the ball landed in the hands of Jacob Torres, who had missed all four of his tries from long range to that point.
He made the one that mattered, lifting the Bobcats to a 46-43 victory over the visiting Pirates.
“It’s a play we have, it’s kind of our end-of-quarter kind of go-to so we’re not confused about what we’re running. It’s a play we call toast,” said Skidmore-Tynan coach Travis Walker about the final play.
“Usually it’s Kade on the backside getting that shot, but Jacob was 0-for-4 at that point, but he was shooting the ball well during our practice this afternoon and we knew they were going to eying on Kade and Clayton,” the coach continued. “Really, we were going for the 2, but they covered up Clayton on it and we didn’t really exactly right.
“But, Kade made the right read and threw a nice on-point pass and Jacob shot it confidently like we talk about every day.”
Torres’ triple put Skidmore back in front and Mathis’ final possession ended with a missed 3-point try to give Skidmore the win and keep the Bobcats in position to secure the No. 2 seed in District 29-3A.
“It really puts us in a good spot going forward,” Walker said of the win.
Florence was the primary reason the Bobcats were able to get it done.
He went 9 of 19 from long range on the night, pouring in a game-best 30 points while playing all 32 minutes.
He made it a double-double with 14 rebounds, and also had two assists – one of which came on Torres’ game-winning shot.
Walker heaped praise on his star guard afterward.
“The kid is special; not only just the scoring, but being a leader on the floor, making sure guys are talking on defense, encouraging his teammates,” he said.
“He’s just a really good kid, good leader, good ballplayer. He does it all for us, rebounding, defense, handling the ball, shooting it. He’s a hell of a player. We’re lucky to have him.”
The importance of the win wasn’t lost on Florence.
“This was the most important game of the year,” he said after the game. “We haven’t been top four since I’ve been here. We’re one step closer to the playoffs.”
Only three other Bobcats aside from Florence scored in the win. Jerrin Koenig had six points to go with five rebounds, while Scotten and Torres both scored five points.
Scotten added four boards and two assists, while Torres contributed four rebounds and three assists.
In total, Skidmore made just 16 field goals on the night. Including Torres’ game-winner, 11 of those 16 were 3-pointers.
S-T 46, Taft 42
The Bobcats ended the third quarter on an 8-2 run to erase a four-point deficit in a win over the Taft Greyhounds Feb. 1.
Taft led 26-22 late in the third, but the Bobcats scored eight of the game’s next 10 points to carry a 30-28 lead into the fourth.
In that final period, Skidmore built its lead to as many as nine before fending off Taft in the closing minutes.
Florence had another double-double for the Bobcats, pouring in 20 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. He also had three assists and two steals.
Scotten joined him in double figures in the scoring column with 10 points to go with seven rebounds.
Koenig had eight points and seven boards, while Torres added six points, five boards, four assists and two steals.
S-T 35, Odem 31
The Bobcats trailed for all of the first and third quarters and most of the second, but came through in the final period to get a win over Odem Feb. 2.
Odem held a 28-27 lead late midway through the final quarter, but the Bobcats ran off six in a row from there to make it 33-28 and never trailed again.
Florence made it five straight double-doubles with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
During that run of five straight double-doubles, Florence is averaging 22.2 points and 12.6 rebounds per game.
Torres also reached double figures in points with 10 on the night. He added five boards as well.
Koenig chipped in two points and six rebounds.
The Bobcats improved to 17-4 overall and 9-2 in district play with the win.