POTOSI — De Soto senior Jared White was determined not to complete his stellar varsity basketball career without bringing home a district title after missing three previous chances to reach the state playoffs.
White calmly buried consecutive jumpers at a pivotal juncture in the fourth quarter while scoring a game-high 19 points Thursday night, and the Dragons topped Farmington 56-54 in the Class 4, District 2 championship game.
Senior center Colin Ferguson netted 17 points and Jake Patzner compiled 10 points with 14 rebounds and seven blocks for the Dragons (24-4), who punctuated a three-game season sweep over Farmington (16-11).
The Knights were seeking their fourth straight district crown, and led 46-43 early in the fourth quarter when junior Monis Zereik converted a 3-point play on a fearless drive against the towering De Soto post players.
But the Dragons surrendered just one made field goal over the final five minutes, and surged ahead 50-48 when White stopped near the top of the key and splashed his third triple of the game.
White rolled in a 13-footer on his team’s ensuing possession, and De Soto extended the margin to 56-50 by looking inside to Ferguson and Patzner for baskets as significant contact was being permitted at both ends.
Doug Warren and Logan England each sank a pair of free throws in the final moments, but a 60-foot Farmington heave sailed left at the buzzer after the Dragons clanked the front end of three consecutive trips to the line.
De Soto will face either Notre Dame or Sikeston in Wednesday’s sectional round at Mineral Area College. White scored his 2,000th varsity point last week in a dramatic 50-49 victory over Notre Dame.
Warren capped his senior campaign with 17 points, and provided an extra dimension to his arsenal by hitting three 3-pointers. He was joined on the all-district team by forward Roper Garrett, who grabbed nine rebounds.
Zereik matched Connor Davault with 10 points apiece for the Knights, but sat a lengthy stretch after a charging call became his second personal foul just 29 seconds into the action.
De Soto overcame a dismal 4-of-11 performance from the line, but played more than 10 minutes before committing its first turnover, and enjoyed the initial wave of prolonged momentum.
White made a hustling steal and save along the sideline to ultimately assist an uncontested dunk by Ferguson, and Sean Solomon nailed a 3-pointer from the corner as the Dragons seized a 17-11 advantage through one quarter.
The Knights countered with active defense of their own to erase an 8-point deficit. Warren scored off a steal after hitting a three, and Davault was fouled while making a sudden pull-up jumper to produce a 22-22 tie.
Farmington displayed early offensive patience out of necessity against an opponent that focused on negating any interior scoring, and successfully struck six times from long range before halftime.
An intense scramble was controlled by Farmington as Garrett tracked down a missed free throw along the baseline, and Davault capitalized with another open triple. The Knights entered the intermission leading 30-29.
A leaner by Zereik put the Knights ahead 41-39 heading into the fourth. White had answered with a 3-pointer earlier in the period after a mid-range shot from Warren restored the largest Farmington lead of four.
Farmington 11 19 11 13 – 54
De Soto 17 12 10 17 – 56
Farmington – Doug Warren 17, Connor Davault 10, Monis Zereik 10, Alec Sebastian 6, Roper Garrett 5, Evan Dunivan 3, Logan England 2, Jordan Ankrom 1. 3-point FG – Warren 3, Sebastian 2, Davault, Dunivan. (FT: 9-16)
De Soto – Jared White 19, Colin Ferguson 17, Jake Patzner 10, Sean Solomon 8, Jake Bennett 2. 3-point FG – White 3, Solomon. (FT: 4-11)