A record-tying performance by Belleville East senior Javon Pickett wasn’t enough to rescue the Lancers on Saturday.
Pickett matched a 15-year-old Highland Shootout record with 40 points, but Webster Groves junior Courtney Ramey popped a 14-footer for the Statesmen with two seconds to play, giving them a 67-65 victory over the Lancers in the 26th annual event.
The 6-foot-4 Pickett, who has signed with Illinois, also had 10 rebounds, four assists, two steals and one block to earn the game’s MVP award. Pickett had 17 points after one quarter, 24 at halftime and 33 after three quarters.
“It’s frustrating to lose, but at the same time, my teammates are happy for me,” Pickett said. “This year, I haven’t been scoring how I did last year. Just to be able to come out here and do that — get a double-double — I feel good about it.”
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Pickett shares the Shootout record with Josh Pruemer, of Stewardson-Strasburg, who scored 40 points in a 70-67 overtime win against Wesclin in 2002.
The Lancers, who were coming off a Southwestern Conference victory Friday at Collinsville, slip to 9-6. East also got 13 points from junior Malachi Smith.
Webster Groves, led by former Waterloo coach Jay Blossom, improved to 9-2. Ramey’s 21 points on 9-for-12 shooting from the field led the Statesmen. Senior Cam Potts had 13 points and sophomore Ray Adams had 12.
“They’re as athletic as anybody we’ve faced,” Blossom said of the Lancers. “Obviously, Pickett was really good. I thought we did a decent job (on Pickett) after the first quarter. I didn’t think we played perfect, but our guys fought back. I thought we showed a lot of heart.
“I’ll give Pickett the MVP and take the win.”
Webster Groves surged ahead 65-58 when Ramey hit a 3-pointer out of the corner with 1:37 left. But Pickett made two free throws, Smith swished a 3-pointer and Pickett scored in the lane off a Webster Groves turnover to tie the game at 65 with 30 seconds left.
The Statesmen moved the ball before getting it to Ramey, who connected from inside the free-throw line just ahead of the buzzer.
“We had the ball last, and we had a great player who made a great play to win the game,” Blossom said. “We don’t like to call a timeout in that situation. We kind of let our guys make plays. It was a great shot. His shoulders were square. It was a big-time shot.”
Lancers coach Abel Schrader said facing the Statesmen was similar to playing elite SWC teams.
“It’s disappointing, but I’m pleased with the effort,” Schrader said. “Webster is one of the better teams in Missouri. I know they’re missing their big player (Saint Louis University recruit Carte’Are Gordon), but Courtney Ramey is one heck of a player. They’ve got really good, sound players, and they’re well-coached. We had a chance at it.”
Schrader called Pickett “incredible.”
“He was really, really good — maybe the best overall that he’s been,” he said. “He was hungry. He wanted to prove something, and I think he did that.”
Chaminade 92, Champaign Central 89, OT
In an absolute thriller, Chaminade (12-1) from St. Louis avenged an earlier defeat to Champaign Central (8-8), holding off the Maroons in overtime behind 33 points from high-flying junior Jericole Hellems and 26 from junior Karrington Davis. Champaign Central junior Tim Finke, son of former Illini football and basketball player and Champaign Central coach Jeff Finke, had 30 points in the loss.
A long 3-pointer by Finke at the buzzer glanced off the rim after Chaminade’s Marin Vrucinic sank the second of two free throws with 3.3 seconds remaining. Chaminade’s Jadis White missed two free throws following an intention foul on Champaign Central, then Vrucinic was fouled as the red Devils maintained possession.
Hellems had six 3-pointers and racked up 21 of his 33 points in the first half. He fouled out with 1:41 remaining in overtime.
Champaign Central also got 27 points from junior guard Bailey Dee and 19 from senior Doug Wallen. Finke, who has numerous Division I offers including one from Illinois, Ohio State and Oregon, tossed in 26 points in the first three quarters.
Carbondale 56, Vianney 49
Junior Darius Beane scored 22 points, and junior Kani Acree added 19 points as the Terriers (10-4) glided by the Golden Griffins (4-8).
Vianney senior Eric Krus led all scorers with 23 points in the losing effort.
Rockhurst 80, Highland 34
Rockhurst, from Kansas City, Mo., got 23 points from junior guard Xavier Rhodes and led from start to finish against the Bulldogs. Rhodes earned game MVP honors.
Highland fell to 3-12 with its fifth loss in six games.
Stevenson 75, Peoria Manual 43
Indiana recruit Justin Smith had 19 points, nine rebounds, two steals, two blocks and two powerful dunks on well-placed lobs as the Patriots won easily.