The red team tops the blue on the unexpected bell beat at the 14th annual Rock Chalk Roundball Classic

The first full-range Rock Chalk Roundball Classic in three years came down to the bell on Thursday at Free State High School.

But it wasn’t Graham Devonte, Svi Mikhayliuk, Wayne Selden, Sherwin Collins, Mario Little, or any of the former KU bowlers who handed the game-winning bucket to the red team.

Instead, the big bucket came from 2003 powerhouse striker Jeff Greaves, who bounced off a Collins foul and got him back as the century looked victorious 113-111.

The big man bucket known for his recovery helped the red team erase 26 points early in the second half, with the blue team leading by a large margin – including 67-48 in the first half – behind strong play from KJ Lawson (nine points), Mario Little (18) , Trail Reed (17) and Tychon Taylor (11).

After trailing 11-3 after Devon Dotson’s three-point lead, the Blues split 22-8 in the round to temporarily control the game.

Graves actually stowed a 3-pointer during that run, shouting “I called him” toward the blue seat after his unexpected making.

Another highlight of the first half for the Blues came when former KU women’s national team player Kylie Kobatich threw the ball to Tyrel Reed, who grabbed it with two hands and smashed it, showing that he still had plenty of jumps left. Reed said the connection was especially helpful to him because it helped guide Kobatic through physical therapy when she was in high school in Olathe South before she came to Kansas.

While the match was a little loose and saw a raft of half-court shot attempts, wild plays and six points from young “downtown” son Terry Brown, it became dangerous towards the end.

“I thought it would get more competitive,” said Dotson, who finished with 23 points. “But it was all fun and games. When I saw it was four minutes left it was like a game and I wanted to keep playing.”

Mikhailuk, who finished the match with 17 points, said after the win that the finish was the only thing that mattered.

“Our number has been reduced to 20,” he said. “So we had to come back, especially at the end. But it was great to come out here with all the guys, for a great cause and have some fun. It was great.”

Mikhailuk also gave an update on his parents, who he said are safe and doing well in his native Ukraine. Mykhailiuk said his mother was able to leave the country for a short time but that his father had been there the whole time since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

“I talk to my parents every day,” Mikhailuk said. “They are great. It is very safe where I am.”

Mykhailiuks is located in his hometown of Cherkasy, which the former Jayhawk said is about a two-hour drive from the country’s capital, Kyiv.

Some of the other highlights of Thursday’s game included: Selden fires a pass from the backboard to himself for a one-handed jam; Taylor stole the interior passage of Mykhailiuk before entering it for an easy time; Elijah Johnson sits on the bench, hockey style, for stealing a late key to the red team; And first-time participant Greg Ostertag finishes a dunk on a pass from Dotson and then immediately asks to get off due to exhaustion.

However, the goal of the night was to honor the five families who are battling different forms of childhood cancer. Three of the five were in attendance Thursday night, including 13-year-old Jake Jones from Royland Park, who settled down and scored a bucket.

Ten-year-old Fatma Gomez and her family from Olathe were also in attendance, as was the family of 8-year-old Olathe resident George Langston, who was also a good fit and made his way through the starting lineup ahead of the match. She received a tip.

Langston’s mother, Linda, said: “To the folks who support the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic, I don’t know the word ‘thank you’ covers it.

The 14th Annual Rock Chalk Roundball Classic Weekend will continue Friday night with a VIP dinner on the KU campus and Saturday with the Rock Chalk Roundbowl Classic at Royal Crest Lanes.

To date, the event has raised more than $770,000 for local families battling cancer.

Final stats:

red team – Devon Dotson 23, Jeff Greaves 17, Elijah Johnson 10, Svi Mikhailuk 17, Wayne Selden 25, Brady Morningstar 2, Sherwin Collins 9, Greg Ostertag 6.

blue team – Defonte Graham 9, Derek Lawson 14, Taishon Taylor 11, Cole Aldrich 14, Ron Kellogg 3, Mario Little 18, Christian Moody 4, KJ Lawson 9, Tyrell Reed 17, Kyle Kopatich 6.

* Singles totals don’t equal the same end result because some players scored for both teams and a handful of kids scored from the crowd.

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