LADUE – With just 5.9 seconds left in Friday night’s MSHSAA Class 4 District 6 game against No. 1 seed , and his team trailing 72-70, every single person in MICDS High School’s McDonnell Gymnasium knew that senior Travon Williams was going to take the last shot for Lions.
Westminster Christian knew Williams was going to take the last shot, and that’s why they put two people on him, and tried to do everything it could to make him pass the ball.
But nothing was going to stop U. City’s No. 1 scoring machine, who raced downcourt against double-coverage, somehow found an open area to get a shot off, and drained a dramatic three-pointer as the buzzer sounded to lift U. City to an incredible 73-72 win, clinching for the Lions their first boys basketball district title since 1986.
“It’s just unbelievable man, I can’t believe it,” Williams said, after knocking down one of the greatest shots in U. City High’s storied basketball history. “I was really thinking just get to the rim, but I looked up and saw there was only two seconds left on the clock. So I thought, I’ve got to shoot it, and luckily man, it went in. And I don’t know what happened after that.”
What happened, was an absolutely bonkers celebration on the court, as the several hundred U. City fans in attendance stormed onto the court to celebrate with the delirious U. City players.
Video of the dramatic moment can be seen here -- Travon Williams' game-winning three-point vs. Westminster Christian -- courtesy of KSDK-Newschannel 5.
“The whole game, I was sure we were going to win,” U. City head coach David Gammon said. “And then for those last 20 seconds, I was sure we weren’t. But that’s high school basketball. I’m just so proud of this team.”
Williams finished with a game-high 20 points for the Lions, including 14 in the fourth quarter, when U. City absolutely had to have them, as it trailed Westminster by as many as eight points midway through the final period.
But the 6-foot-3 U. City senior was up to the task, answering every Westminster score with either a bucket of some sort or two free throws that kept his team in the game.
Williams twice pulled the Lions to within three points, with a pair of free throw makes in the final three minutes, and then brought U. City to within a point with a deep three-pointer with just 15 seconds left in the game.
Then, after trying to make a steal, U. City fouled Westminster’s Jack Dohr with just under six seconds left, hoping to somehow get the ball back with a chance to tie.
And Dohr, who was Westminster’s leading scorer on the night with 19 points, made a tie possible by making only one of two free throws to put the Wildcats up two with 5.9 ticks left in the game.
That set up the dramatic final moments as the entire gym rose to its feet.
Williams took an inbounds pass from teammate George Brown, and weaved his way downcourt looking for an opening.
Westminster was determined not to let him have one and put two defenders in his face, with a third trailing behind hoping to catch Williams in a trap.
But the senior wouldn’t be denied.
He first went left, but was quickly cut off and had to re-direct all the way back to his right. Then with the clock running out, Williams dribbled between his legs to give himself just a little room against two Westminster defenders.
Williams then rose up and fired a shot that set off sheer pandemonium in the McDonnell Gym, as U. City won a game it led at halftime, but trailed in for most of the second half.
“(In the timeout before the play) I told the guys just get the ball to Tra or (senior point guard) Alex Henry and give them some room, but stay close enough in case they get stuck somewhere,” Gammon said afterward.
“I saw he had three guys around him, and I thought he’s not going to have enough time. But suddenly I saw him rise up, and it was a really good look considering the time. And the shot went in, and we all just lost it. Everybody just went crazy.”
The victory advances U. City (19-8) into the Missouri Class 4 state playoffs, where they will play top-ranked Soldan High (21-5) in the state sectionals next Wednesday night at 8 p.m., at in Ballwin.
Soldan, which is and has been the No. 1-ranked team in Missouri Class 4 all season, earned its trip to the state sectionals by defeating Jennings High 65-30 in another district championship Friday night in North County.
“They’re a great team,” Gammon said. “They’re very well-coached. They have a lot of talent, and it’s going to take our best game if we’re going to beat them.”
“I know a few guys on their team, and I’ve played against some of them before,” Williams, who nearly an hour later still had a death-grip on the district championship trophy he was presented after U. City’s dramatic win, said.
“I’m just looking forward to playing them. They’ve got a lot of talent, and we do too. It should be a real good game.”