SPRINGFIELD — Like Tiger Woods on Sunday, MacArthur’s boys basketball team put on its red uniforms for its Central State 8 Tournament championship game against Springfield Lanphier on Saturday.
The Generals battled the No. 1-seeded Lions for 32 minutes and led in the final moment before coming up one point short, 59-58, in the Central State 8 Tournament championship game at Lanphier.
Behind hot shooting from Brylan Phillips, MacArthur got out to a quick lead 12-6. Following a Lanphier timeout to regroup, T.J. Price hit back-to-back 3-pointers to tie it 12-12.
Price connected on a third 3 in quarter and the Lions led 20-17 after one quarter. Philips had 10 points in the period.
"Brylan is like another coach out there for us and a facilitator. He is a coach's dream to have someone like that on your team," MacArthur coach Terise Bryson said. "Brylan came up big tonight."
The second quarter saw much slower action as Lanphier led 29-28 at the intermission.
The Generals attempted to hold the ball for the final two minutes of the first half and when they took it to the basket, Qua Smith was called for the charge. Lanphier took advantage with a buzzer beating 3-pointer from Price, his fourth of the half.
In the third quarter, 6-10 Lanphier center K.J. Debrick hit six free throws as the Lions extended their lead to five points, 43-38, at the end of the third quarter. In total, Debrick made 10-of-12 from the line and finished with 14 points.
In the fourth quarter, MacArthur trailed by as much as seven but in the final minute, Phillips hit a fade away 3-pointer to put MacArthur down one, 57-56. After a Generals defensive stop, Phillips scored again to put MacArthur up 58-57.
Lanphier got the ball underneath to Debrick, who made the game-winning shot for the 59-58 victory.
"I'm so proud of our guys and they fought to the end and never gave up," Bryson said. "Lanphier is a good team and we could have given up when we were down seven but they didn't give up.
"We had a group of seniors who played so hard and I feel so bad for those kids. They fought so hard with the short season."
Phillips had a game-high 25 points and Eric Livingston added 13 points. Qua Smith had nine points and eight rebounds. Nick Spannaus grabbed seven rebounds.
"Brylan helped us do a lot this whole season and he really stepped up tonight and I really appreciate him for that to help us in my last season," Spannaus aid. "He left it all out there, just like the rest of us. I couldn't as for more from a teammate."
MacArthur (9-3) closed out the short basketball season with the team finishing second in the CS8 Tournament.
"It is something to be proud of but I know we could have come out on top. I think we all feel like we should be on top right now," Spannaus said. "There was no give up, we left it all out on the floor but it just didn't go our way tonight."
Contact Matthew Flaten at (217) 421-6968. Follow him on Twitter: @MattFlaten