When he was a sophomore, Brock missed a free throw against Faith Christian that could have sent the Purple Devils to the Northeast Regional Tournament.
On Monday against second-ranked Collinsville in the Class 1A Northeast Regional semifinals in Jacksonville, that moment stared Brock in the face again – only this time he delivered, and then some.
Brock made two free throws with 12.8 seconds left to tie the game at 47 to force overtime. In the extra session, Brock connected on a bucket and ensuing foul shot with 27.2 seconds remaining, helping lift the No. 6 Purple Devils to a 54-49 victory.
“It’s the biggest moment I’ve ever had,” said Brock, who also admitted he was nervous with the game on the line.
The win sends Ragland (26-6) to the regional final against Skyline (23-7) on Friday at 2:15 p.m. Collinsville’s season ends at 27-4.
“They’re very athletic,” Collinsville coach Jon Tidmore said. “They play hard. They’ve got a good scheme. They’ve won 26 games so far, so they’re a really good team.”
It’s the second straight year Ragland has brought Collinsville’s season to a close. The Purple Devils beat the Panthers 64-44 in last year’s regional semifinal.
Adding to the Panthers’ heartbreak was seeing two of their top players, senior guard Deshawn Moore and senior forward Davey Posey, collide with each other around the 2:40 mark in the second quarter.
Posey suffered a gash to the head, but returned to action almost immediately. Moore, on the other hand, suffered a cut to his bottom lip. He remained on the court for several minutes before being helped to the bench.
Moore re-entered the game with 5:25 left in the third quarter with a bandaged lip.
Before the injury, Moore had 12 points. He could only manage six more in the second half to finish with 18 points. Moore also had 14 rebounds, five blocked shots, three steals and two assists.
“That was probably big,” Tidmore said. “There were some minutes we were without him, but it’s a testament to his toughness, coming in and playing with that injury. It was a physical, rough game, but I thought we battled just about as hard as we could.”
Following the game, Moore wasn’t making any excuses for playing injured.
“It’s a mental thing,” Moore said. “I should have gone out there and played my normal game, but I didn’t.”
Things got started well enough for Collinsville. The Panthers led 12-8 at the end of the first quarter and 26-15 at halftime. Ragland cut its deficit down to four at 35-31 at the end of the third quarter and took its first lead of the second half with 2:15 left in regulation on a pair of Brock free throws.
Brock finished the game with 15 points, five rebounds and five steals.
The two teams battled down the stretch, with Brock forcing the extra period on another pair of free throws.
Speaking of free throws, the Panthers can only wonder what might have been. They missed nine of them in the fourth quarter, and finished 11-for-21 at the charity stripe for the game.
“I guess the most telling thing in the end was free throws,” Tidmore said. “We had a chance to close the game out in regulation. Had we hit a couple of more free throws, we would have won. We put ourselves in a good position, but you’ve just got to give credit to them. When we gave them that opportunity, they took it.”
Ragland outscored Collinsville 7-2 in the extra session, with Brock coming away with four of those seven points.
“It was a very good high school basketball game,” Ragland coach Andy Eden said. “We got down at first. We didn’t shoot the ball well in the first half, but we hung in there in the second half and didn’t quit. This team’s been like that all year. We’ve been down before, but we’ve pulled it out in the end. We made the plays we had to make.”
Posey added 15 points, four rebounds and three steals for Collinsville. Daniel Bradford contributed nine points and four boards. David Hernandez finished with five points and also had four rebounds.
Kijana Lindsey matched Brock’s 15 points. He also had 11 rebounds and three steals. Cody Jones tallied 13 points and six boards. Devane Brewster finished with five points, six rebounds, two steals, two assists and a blocked shot.
“I think Ragland gave good effort, but I think our guys were on the floor constantly,” Tidmore said. “We battled every loose ball. We got after it as hard as we could. I think we did that for 31 games this season. I think that’s why I appreciate this group of seniors so much. They were a pleasure to coach.”