SHELBYVILLE — Hauser senior Mason Sherman had just eight minutes left to try and save the Jets’ season, but his 17-point fourth quarter was not enough.
The Class A No. 8-ranked Jets were looking at a 16-point deficit heading into the fourth-quarter, and almost completed a season-saving fourth-quarter comeback before falling 69-63 to Class A No. 4 Morristown in the semifinals of the Southwestern (Shelby) Sectional.
The odds didn’t look good for Hauser when leading scorer Alex Gross fouled out with 4:26 left to play with the Jets trailing by 15 points. But Sherman kept fighting to give them a chance with his solid 3-point shooting. He scored on four 3-pointers in the final period on his way to finishing with 24 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.
“Me and Alex, we’re two dynamic players on the team and when one of us goes out, the other person has to take care of it,” Sherman said. “He went out, and I knew it was my turn to do what I did.”
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Sherman responded to Gross fouling out by executing a four-point play after being fouled on a made 3-point bucket to cut the lead to 61-50. He scored on two more 3-pointers following that one. Sherman’s fourth 3-point cut the margin to 63-61 with less than a minute left.
“He just put us on his shoulders and tried to carry the team and try to get us back, which he did,” Hauser coach Griff Roth said. “We got back to two points, and we had five 3s in the last quarter. He played with heart, played with everything he had and he gave everything he could to me.”
The Jets (17-7) had a chance to tie the game with 19 seconds left. They trailed 66-63, but a turnover on the inbounds pass gave the ball back to the Morristown. The Yellow Jackets (23-2) scored the final three points to give Hauser its only loss of the season by a Class A school.
The Jets handed Morristown one of its two losses earlier in the season behind Gross’ 30 points. The Yellow Jackets made sure to force the ball out of his hands as much as possible by doubling him in the post on the rematch. They held Gross to seven points, but he managed to record 12 rebounds and six blocks.
Both teams traded buckets in the first couple of minutes, but Morristown created a 19-11 lead by the end of the first quarter and extended it to 38-22 by halftime to create the uphill battle for Hauser in the second half.
“(Morristown) played really well (in the first half), and we didn’t execute some of the things that we had talked about and worked on in practice,” Roth said. “You have to give them credit. We just didn’t execute very well in the first half.”
Justin Compton ended with 11 points for the Jets. Logan Laster led the Yellow Jackets with 19.
Hauser will be losing most of its veteran players after graduating eight seniors this year. Roth said he is proud of the way his team fought on Friday and how they fought all season.
“I just can’t say enough about these guys,” Roth said. “They’re my family.”