Rylan Cotton made a lasting impression in his final boys basketball game at the Lincoln Southwest Gym.
The 6-foot-2 senior guard scored the game's final seven points in the last 42 seconds, including the go-ahead three-pointer with 23 seconds remaining to lift Southwest to a 57-53 victory against No. 10 Kearney on Friday night.
"This was a big moment for the seniors, to win our final game here," said Cotton, who finished with a team-high 20 points. "To end it like we did was really special to me."
Tyler Shields' two free throws with 51.6 seconds left gave Kearney (10-8) a 53-50 lead, finishing off a game-high 27 points from the 6-4 junior.
Nine seconds later, Cotton hit both ends of a one-and-one free-throw opportunity to make it a one-point game. The Bearcats missed the front-end of a one-and-one with 39.3 seconds remaining, setting up Cotton's three-pointer from the left wing that put Southwest ahead to stay 55-53.
"Rylan was pretty wide-open, and I thought it was in as soon as it left his hand," said Southwest coach Duane Baack, whose team improved to 10-10 with its seventh win in its past nine games. "Our kids made the plays they had to down the stretch."
A well-defended three-point attempt by Shields from the top of the key fell short with six seconds left, Cotton rebounded and he was fouled. His two free throws with 4.8 seconds left capped a 10-of-10 effort at the line by the senior and a 16-of-18 night for the Hawks.
Dylan Heath added 15 points for the Silver Hawks, including nine in the fourth period.
Kearney jumped to a 10-2 lead and held a 17-12 advantage after one quarter, thanks to nine points in the period by Shields. Southwest led 28-27 at half, but Kearney took a 40-39 edge into the final eight minutes.