Isaac Johnson was down to one eye, but he knew he needed to make his free throws.
The Kickapoo senior lost one of his contact lenses in the waning moments of a 93-78 win over defending Class 3 state champion Barstow on Saturday at the Scoreboard Guy Shootout at Ozark High School.
He then made four free throws in the final minute to finish the game with 18 points.
“After a timeout it started bothering me, because I think I wiped my eye the wrong way,” Johnson said, but added that he wanted to make his shots from the stripe.
“You gotta make them to win the game,” Johnson said.
Jared Ridder led Kickapoo with 25 points. Cameron Davis scored 20 and Niekie Thomas-Fontleroy also got to double digits with 17 points.
“It’s always a lot more fun when we’re having fun out there, passing the ball and sharing it,” Johnson said. “We’re a family, so we just try to get everybody involved.”
Both teams had played less than 24 hours before the Saturday game, which Kickapoo coach Dick Rippee believes helped trigger the offensive shootout.
“It doesn’t allow you much time to prepare, hence you saw a high-scoring affair because neither team was able to really do much to stop the other,” Rippee said.
Jeriah Horne led all scorers with 27 points for Barstow, and Jacob Gilyard was right behind him with 25.
Rippee opted to concentrate on defending Barstow’s role players and take his chances against the stars who led Barstow to a 2015 Class 3 state championship with a win over Strafford in the March final. He took note of Hayden Schmidtz coming off the bench to score seven points, two on a spectacular putback where Schmidtz lost his balance and fell backward as he released the basketball.
“Hayden Schmidtz was huge for us. He gave us a big lift,” Rippee said. “He did a good job defensively, he rebounded well, and he fought hard.”
Kickapoo, ranked No. 5 in the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Class 5 state rankings, improves to 17-2 on the season with back-to-back wins over Parkview and Barstow. Ridder scored 32 points in an 81-63 win over Parkview, but Johnson felt that the Chiefs played a better game against Barstow.
“It’s definitely huge coming off a game where we didn’t play real well (Friday) night against Parkview, so to come and play a great team like Barstow and get a win feels pretty good,” Johnson said.
Johnson, presumably, will wear two contact lenses when Kickapoo plays its next game Tuesday at Camdenton. The Chiefs play at Lebanon on Friday, Feb. 5, and return to action in Springfield on Tuesday, Feb. 9 against rival Glendale at the O’Reilly Family Event Center at Drury University.
Kickapoo 93, Barstow 78
At Ozark High School, Scoreboard Guy Shootout
Barstow—Jeriah Horne 27, Jacob Gilyard 25, Shea Rush 14, Tripp Walsworth 8, Jared Gillen 4
Kickapoo—Jared Ridder 25, Cameron Davis 20, Isaac Johnson 18, Niekie Thomas-Fontleroy 17, Hayden Schmidtz 7, Isaac Blakeslee 3, Travis Vokolek 2, Derrick Roberson 1