COMMERCE — The only bucket of the night for Hayden Moss could not have come at a better time.
The Commerce junior buried a 3-point goal from the top of the key with 6.7 seconds remaining, giving the Tigers a 53-52 victory over Bluejacket here Saturday, Jan. 6.
“I was super proud of my kids,” Commerce coach Terry Tyree Jr. said. “It was a physical game and they fought for four quarters. We’ve got some new pieces that came out and we’re still trying to find our identity.
“My goal when I took over this program was to be a team that could pressure you full court and try to transition out the easy buckets. We didn’t get a lot of that, but I can see we are starting to turn that tide.”
Bluejacket earned a split by breezing 36-12 in the girls’ game.
The Tigers were on their way to a fourth loss of the season, falling behind by 13 midway through the second quarter.
But they went on to outscore Bluejacket 45-31 over the final 28:28 to instead claim a fourth win.
Ryder Blackfox dished off to Justin Pape for a baseline drive, giving the Chieftains a 52-50 advantage with 21.1 seconds left.
Following a time out, Commerce milked the clock down to the point where Moss drained his clutch trey.
Blackfox missed a 3-point attempt from the left corner at the buzzer that was off the mark.
“We kept our composure,” Tyree said. “They got the basket to go up two with like 20 seconds left and we kept our composure, came down and Hayden hit the huge 3. It was a total team effort.
“I am elated. My weekend is made now.”
Lupe Prado and Chris Ibarra each had 12 points and Cruz Munson added 10 for the Tigers.
Others scoring for Commerce were Danny Salinas with six points, Hunter Burkybile, five; Bryer Chandler, four; Moss, three, and Ryan Dunbar, one.
Four of the five players who scored for the Chieftains reached double figures.
Blackfox had a game-high 20 (getting 11 in the fourth quarter) while Coy McGlasson and Pape added 15 and 13, respectively.
Cooper Decker accounted for the Chieftains’ other four points.
“The kids were just relentless,” Tyree said. “I told them I wanted them to be like that piece of corn you get stuck in your teeth — you just can’t get it out and it just drives you nuts. If we can play that style of basketball and transition it into easy layups, I think good things are on the horizon for Commerce Tiger basketball.”
Girls: Bluejacket 36, Commerce 12
The Lady Chieftains were able to limit Commerce to single-digit scoring in all four quarters.
After a slow-paced first quarter, Bluejacket started getting momentum.
It outscored Commerce 8-3 in the second quarter then erupted for 18 points in the third to open up a 32-8 advantage.
Each team scored four points in the final stanza.
Shelbie Baker was Bluejacket’s leader with 13.
Laura Collins had seven points, followed by Lea Hency with five, Tiffany Ayres, four, Deedee Satterwhite, three, and Abby Brewster and Lydia Pipins, two each.
Morgan Connell and Ashley Myers had five points each and Marisa Scott added two for the Lady Tigers.
Bluejacket travels to Watts Tuesday, Feb. 9, and Afton Friday, Feb. 12, then hosts Burlington on Saturday, Jan. 13.
Commerce hosts Welch on Tuesday, Feb. 9, and then travels to Colcord on Friday, Jan. 12.