McPherson — Free State withstood a Hutchinson rally and claimed a 42-40 high school boys basketball victory Friday in the McPherson Invitational.
The Firebirds will play Manhattan at 3:30 p.m. today for fifth place.
Free State saw a 10-point third-quarter lead cut to one late in the game, then survived when a three-point shot by Hutchinson bounced off the front of the rim at the buzzer.
“We had a hard time finishing the game, but we feel good about getting the win,” FSHS coach Chuck Law said. “We were lucky to dodge the bullet. They cut it to one, and we held on for dear life.”
Khadre Lane led the Firebirds with 11 points, and Cody Scott and Cole Moreano added nine points apiece.
Hutchinson sliced Free State’s lead to 39-38 before Scott made a field goal for a 41-38 edge. The Firebirds made just one of their last six free-throw attempts, but a free throw by Keith Loneker gave FSHS its final point.
The victory snapped the Firebirds’ seven-game losing streak and raised their record to 3-7.
“We needed that win desperately,” Law said. “It would have been a bitter pill after having a 10-point lead. It was good to find a way to win.”