SALINA, Kan. -- Barton County has been a nemesis deluxe for Coffeyville C.C. at the Region VI quarters the past few years, so the top seeded Red Ravens had to be concerned when the Cougars jumped out to a nine point lead in the second half.
But this year's Coffeyville did something that its predecessors could not at Sunday's Region VI quarters, and that was to slay Barton County for a berth in Tuesday's tournament semis.
Fred Marshall hit a short pull up jumper as time expired to complete a thrilling comeback and propel the Red Ravens to an 89-87 victory.
Coffeyville fell behind by nine points with 7:46 left in the game and trailed 86-81 with 3:40 to play before mounting an 8-1 run to close the game out and claim the victory.
Marvin Black started the comeback by hitting one of two free throws with 3:26 to play. Teammate Steve Smith grabbed the offensive rebound off Black's miss and hit a short jumper to cut the lead to 86-84 with 3:20 remaining.
For the next two minutes, the teams traded turnovers and missed shots, until Barton's Elisha Fields was fouled with 1:22 to play. Fields hit one of two from the line and the Cougars pushed the lead to three.
However, that was Barton's last point of the game. Griffin Walker hit one of two free throws with 1:06 to play to slice the lead to two, and a mad scramble ensued for the loose ball on the missed attempt.
The Cougars' Robert Whaley got his hand on the ball, but inadvertently tapped it out to a Coffeyville player. Whaley then proceeded to block a quick Red Raven shot attempt, but the ball wound up in Walker's hands, and he was fouled in the act of shooting with 1:01 to play.
This time, Walker hit both free throws to knot the game at 87 and set up a furious final minute of play. With about :30 to play, Barton's Jason Carter drove toward the basket and lost the ball as he tried to elevate on a shot attempt.
The Red Ravens scooped up the loose ball and called time out. Coffeyville held the ball for a while, but freshman Devin Smith was pressured just above the three point line and nearly turned the ball over with 3.7 seconds to play.
Dodging a major bullet, the Red Ravens called a time out at that juncture for a strategy session. The result was Marshall's game winning shot. Marshall caught the ball above the three point line, and relatively unguarded, he took several dribbles and pulled up to knock down a 10 footer as time expired.
Coffeyville, which had only one loss and went through the Jayhawk East Conference undefeated this season, finally beat Barton to advance to the Region VI semis. The last two years, the teams have matched up in Salina, with the Cougars claiming a 50 point victory in 2000 and a much closer triumph over the Red Ravens in 2001 on the way to a District VI bid to last year's NJCAA Tournament.
Devin Smith, a 6-5 freshman from Delaware, led Coffeyville with 28 points and 10 rebounds. Forwards Marvin Black and Steve Smith added 15 and 13 points, respectively. Steve Smith also contributed 10 rebounds.
Carter paced Barton with 24 points, and the 6-10 man-child Whaley tallied 18 points and seven rebounds. A pair of Cougar sophs also paid big dividends, with guard Raphael Posey (14 points) and forward Elisha Fields (16 points, six rebounds) turning in yeoman efforts.
Coffeyvillle advanced to the Region VI semis on Tuesday and will square off against Dodge City.