McPherson — Despite entering the McPherson Invitational on a seven-game losing streak, Free State High’s boys basketball squad came ever so close to reaching the tournament championship game.
But Blue Valley West came from behind late and defeated the Firebirds, 47-46, in the semifinals Friday night. FSHS beat Buhler in the first round.
Free State led 31-25 at halftime and 37-33 entering the fourth quarter, but BV West made one of two free throws to break a tie with 10 seconds left.
“We missed a couple opportunities, but I’ve never been as proud of a group of kids as I am today,” FSHS coach Chuck Law said. “They played fantastic.”
Cole Moreano led the Firebirds with 14 points and also pulled down six rebounds. Brett Frantz contributed 13 points, and Gabe Patterson had nine rebounds.
“We played very well today,” Law said. “We couldn’t have asked any more from our kids.”
The Firebirds outrebounded Blue Valley West 32-22 in the second meeting this season between the two schools. BV West won the first game, 61-49.
“We did some good things tonight,” Law said. “We made some strides toward becoming a good basketball team.”
The Firebirds (3-8) will play Shawnee Mission East at 5:30 p.m. today for third place.