Campbell, the Colts do-it-all super senior guard forced a pair of turnovers in the final minute of play and Harris converted a pair of traditional three-point plays, as Central overcame a two-point deficit to claim a heart-stopping 45-44 road win at Marquette Friday night.
“I know DeAndre would love to have those two missed free-throws back with four and a half seconds but you can’t fault a kid like that,” Parkway Central coach Rick Kirby said. “He’s put us on the map and he made some big plays late, we got a three-pointer out of Devion, and normally in a close game players like DeAndre Campbell can step up and get it done.”
Parkway Central (11-3) came out employing their aggressive pressure defense early, as Campbell, Arther Green, and Jayden Littlejohn forced the Mustangs into some early turnovers.
A pair of Campbell buckets and a pair of Green foul shots keyed a 6-0 run, putting the Colts up 10-4.
Down eight points late in the second quarter, Marquette (7-5) pulled back within four on a Jason Montgomery bucket and a pair of free-throws making it 23-19 at the intermission. Montgomery, the Mustangs talented 6-foot-3 junior guard, was a load for the Colts, pumping in a game-high 30 points.
“We know that that is in him and we talked about what we needed to do as a team tonight and obviously Jason is a big part of that,” Marquette coach Eric Schweain said.
Montgomery and Campbell continued to trade baskets in the third quarter, but thanks to Montgomery’s scoring, Mustangs carried a 36-32 lead into the fourth quarter.
“We really got off to a good start but I thought we got a bit winded early and had a hard time catching our second wind,” Kirby said.
Harris knocked in a bucket and a free-throw to cut the Marquette lead to 42-41 with 3:05 to play. Montgomery answered on the other end with a two off a smooth left baseline drive to push the lead back to three with 2:48 left.
The Colts came up with a big answer as Campbell found Harris on the left baseline and Harris scored a layup, got fouled and knocked down the free-throw for his second three-point play in the final two minutes, giving the Colts the lead at 45-44 with 52 seconds left.
“I saw the ball get pushed up real quick and Devion spread his man out and gave it to him and he did what he does,” Campbell said.
“It feels good to put in an And-1 there,” Harris said.
Marquette missed a shot at the other end and with 40.6 seconds left Green was fouled and missed the front end of a 1-and-1 at the free-throw line and the Mustangs corraled the rebound.
The Mustangs had their next possession was lost when Campbell stripped Montgomery of the ball and was fouled on a drive at other end with 4.5 seconds left.
Campbell missed the first free throw and after a Marquette timeout, missed the second one but managed to somehow steal away the loose ball and keep the Mustangs from getting off a shot as time ran out.
“Missing those free-throws, I knew I had to make up for it, so I found the ball on the ground and went and got it and threw it back in,” Campbell said. “That was the game.”
Campbell led the Colts with 22 points., Green had 9 points and Harris had 8.
It was a gut-check win for the Colts that had a definite March post-season feel to it.
“Marquette’s a good basketball team, that’s a nice road victory for my team,” Kirby said.
The end result came up a bit short of what Marquette wanted, but the Mustangs definitely got some positive things out of the night.
“I love these kids and they guarantee they are going to give everything they have have and we’re going to grow from this,” Schweain said.
Notes: On Saturday, Marquette will host a basketball clinic for Special Olympics. In February, the group will come back for a half-time showcase at one of the Mustangs February home games.
Prior to Friday night’s game, the 2017 Mustangs state championship softball team was honored in a pre-game ceremony.