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Raiders lose close rematch to Dragons

DE SOTO, Mo. – Despite coming back to take the lead in the final minute, the North County boys basketball team fell 49-47 to De Soto on Wednesday night.

Senior Craig Theiss sank a decisive pair of free throws for the Dragons after junior Hayden Sprenkel hit a corner 3-pointer off of an inbounds play to put the Raiders ahead 47-46 with just 33 seconds remaining.

North County (4-4) had the ball with just 2.3 seconds to play, but committed a turnover on the inbound pass.

Theiss had a team-leading 21 points and 11 rebounds for De Soto while both Austin West and Jordan Anderson contributed eight points apiece.

Following his stellar performance during the Central Christmas Tournament, Sprenkel had a game-high 26 points with 10 rebounds for the Raiders. He scored 11 points in the fourth quarter alone.

North County senior Brian Chandler fouled out late when trying to stop the clock, but still grabbed 17 rebounds with nine points.

Chandler had a huge impact in the fourth quarter, pulling down five offensive rebounds and defending the post exceptionally.

The Dragons crashed the boards hard in the opening quarter, and reeled in three offensive rebounds on multiple possessions.

De Soto was pushing the ball up the floor on nearly every possession, getting its points almost exclusively around the basket.

Sprenkel scored six points over the last two minutes of the second quarter, but junior Kody Suess hit a long range shot in the final seconds to put the Dragons up 26-20 at halftime.

Much of the scoring for each team came from the paint in the third quarter, as both defenses were focused on smothering perimeter shooters.

North County junior Hunter Johnson scored five points in the last minute of the period within a 9-2 run that shrunk the deficit to 38-33.

De Soto ended many possessions with turnovers while attempting to milk the clock with its late advantage.

The Raiders missed several jumpers in the final five minutes and could not work the ball closer to the basket against their larger opponents.

De Soto topped North County 74-63 last week in tournament action.

North County junior Hunter Johnson (54) gets fouled by De Soto junior Aaron Perren (32) while attempting a layup in the second quarter on Wednesday.

North County junior Hunter Johnson (54) gets fouled by De Soto junior Aaron Perren (32) while attempting a layup in the second quarter on Wednesday.

North County senior Brett Hubbard (1) shoots a fade-away jumper over De Soto junior Aaron Perren (32) during the second quarter on Wednesday night. 

North County senior Brett Hubbard (1) shoots a fade-away jumper over De Soto junior Aaron Perren (32) during the second quarter on Wednesday night. 

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