Mather (10-2) won the Luther North tournament despite squandering a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter with a 60-59 win over King (9-4) Thursday.
The Jaguars rallied to take a 59-58 lead on two free throws by Justin Reynolds to give King a lead heading into the final moments of the game. Reynolds goals capped an incredible comeback as King outscored Mather 26-14 to take its only lead in the championship game on the school’s first visit ever to Luther North.
With 12 seconds remaining Ken Murphy drove to the basket on the next offensive possession and scored on a layup for a 60-59 win.
“I was just focused,” admitted Murphy on his game winning shot. “I knew I could have made (the shot). I just threw (the ball) up at the basket.”
King committed a turnover to end one of the most thrilling championship games ever at Luther North.
“Our guys kept their composure and kept attacking the basket,” said Mather head coach Glen Heffernan. Heffernan will try to guide to school to its first Red North title.
Murphy led Mather and all players on the court with 22 points while Reynolds came off the bench to lead King with 21 points.
The Rangers have now won back-to-back titles at Luther North.
“King is a good team,” Heffernan said. “I know they are probably going to win 20 games. My hat goes off to them it’s unfortunate somebody had to lose tonight.”
King advanced to the finals by winning two straight contests by one point over Lane and Taft. The Jaguars are now a college prep school under new coach Culumber Ball. Ball played his prep basketball in the Public League at Hirsch.
Taft (7-6) took third place at Luther North with a 56-43 win over Jones as guard Jon Doss scored 17 points.
Gordon (5-6) recovered from an opening round loss to Taft by capturing the consolation championship with a 54-32 win over Guerin (3-10).
Dave Andrews led the Rams with 21 points while Brandon Johnson added 11 points.
One question from basketball fans in this area of the city. No North side squad has won the Public League championship since Roosevelt in 1952. No team from this area has advanced to the title game since Lake View in 1954. When will the championship drought be broken?