Fulton, MO, 11/7/21 – Disaster struck in the last seconds of the Westminster College Blue Jays season and home opener against the Grinnell College Pioneers. A steal, a foul and a free throw with .7 seconds left sank the Blue Jays. The heartbreaking loss left the Blue Jay players and fans stunned.
The Westminster College Blue Jays were in a good spot late in their season opener, or so it seemed. They had just stolen the ball with a 107-104 lead got fouled and were heading to the line for a bonus free throw attempt with 24.4 seconds left in the game. The free throw was missed. Grinnell College dribbled around for thirteen seconds without getting anywhere and then took what looked like a desperation step back three that went down to tie the game with 11.4 seconds to play. The Blue Jays had a chance to win the game but then disaster struck as the Blue Jays were driving a Grinnell defender poked the ball away and Grinnell's Aiden Gilbert ran onto the loose ball with 4 seconds to play and appeared heading for a breakaway lay up to win the game. Blue Jay guard Emil Spriggs (Kansas City, MO / Lees Summit North) chased him down and fouled him to save the lay-up. Gilbert would make the second of his two free throws with 0.7 seconds left. A half court heave was no good and the Blue Jays were stunned 108-107 in their season opener.
The Blue Jays were led by sophomore forward Tre Kempker (Eugene, MO / Eugene) who tallied a career high 22 points on 10 for 14 shooting. Seniors Landon Harrison (Jefferson City, MO / Helias) and Jaxon Althaus (Oak Grove, MO / Oak Grove) each chipped in 18 points. Emil Spriggs (Kansas City, MO / Lees Summit North) had 11 points and sophomore guard Brennan Jeffries (Jefferson City, MO / Jefferson City) was the fifth Blue Jay in double figures with ten. Senior Ethan Thompson (Columbia, MO / Hallsville) tallied nine points on a team high three pointers Harrison led the Blue Jay effort on the boards with nine rebounds. Kempker and Makygh Galbreath (Fulton, MO / Fulton) had seven rebounds each. Althaus and freshman post Ben Eberlin (Hardin, IL / Calhoun) both pulled down five rebounds. Althaus, Galbreath and Jeffries each had five assists to lead the Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays outshot the Pioneers 52.5 to 42.5 percent. The Pioneers outrebounded the Blue Jays 47-37 while the Blue Jays held their turnovers to nine.
The Blue Jays will be back in action on Wednesday night in Galesburg, Illinois as the Blue Jays will take on the Knox College Prairie Fire. The game is set for a start time of 7:00 p.m.