Columbia, Mo. – With 8 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of Tuesday night's Class 5 District 9 semifinal, the Camdenton Lakers had a final chance to win the game in regulation.

Sometimes, 8 seconds can be a lifetime. But in this scenario, the Lakers wish it could have been a little longer.

Camdenton senior Kullen Carlock took the ball and raced down the court, breaking through Hickman's press, but in the process, lost control of the ball twice. Their chance at winning the game then and there passed as the buzzer rang out.

The thought going through Carlock's mind in those 8 seconds?

"Don't turn it over," Carlock said. "If it goes in to overtime, it goes. You always wish you could take the mistakes back."

But when that final play didn't pan out, Camdenton's coach Jared O'Quinn told his Lakers exactly what they needed to hear.

"He told us to stay together," fellow Camdenton senior Zach Brown said.

"After the huddle, when we went into overtime, he (Coach O'Quinn) said 'Now, we have four minutes instead of 8 seconds left. It just bumped it up'," Carlock said.

Seeded fourth out of five teams in the District 9 tournament, Camdenton was not by any means the favorite to win against the number one seed. But to win against a team that had been ranked number one in the state for weeks on end?

All bets were on Hickman.

And they proved to be right, as Hickman won 60-59 in overtime.

But no one expected Camdenton to lose by just one point.

"Honestly, I think the pressure was more before the game started," Brown said. "Once the game was going, after tip-off, we were ready to go. I think the pressure was more on Hickman than us."

"Yeah, it was definitely more on them," Carlock said. "We were the number four-seed, and they had to prove it to us. We played good, solid team basketball."

A final score of 60-59 shows a Hickman win, but the real story is the battle that it took to get there, and the scare that Hickman's fans received.

When Zach Brown drilled a three after a minute-and-a-half of play, it gave the Lakers a 3-0 lead.

Jimmy Whitt answered with a steal and layup to put the Kewpies on the scoreboard, trailing 3-2.

By the end of the first quarter, Hickman had scored just six more points, while Kullen Carlock added four more points for the Lakers, as Camdenton trailed 8-7.

Sophomore Michael Hake provided a spark to the Lakers in the second quarter, as he stole the ball and was fouled on the layup, resulting in a free throw that tied the game at 8-8.

One minute later, Hake drained a 3 to give the Lakers an 11-8 lead. Hickman's Chris Clark answered with a basket, but Carlock's pick-and-roll maintained Camdenton's 3-point lead.

On the next play, Hake misread a pass from Carlock, which sailed out of bounds, but the Lakers' defense held firm, rebounding and in turn setting up Alex Amerine down low for a bucket on an assist from Carlock.

That five-point lead was the largest margin of the game, and the Lakers built a five-point lead as many as five times in the second quarter.

Leading 25-23 seconds before the end of the half, the Lakers' Jordan Knight drilled a 3 to give the Camdenton squad their final 5-point lead. Hickman's Chris Clark answered with a 3 of his own, which rolled in the net as the buzzer went off.

The underdog Lakers led 28-26 at the half.

The second half proved to be just as tight as the first, as each team answered back-to-back with each shot.

At the end of the third quarter, the game was tied at 44-44.

Hickman jumped to an early 4-point lead in the fourth with a basket from Whitt and another by Jordan Jones, which forced Camdenton to take a timeout with 6:53 left in the game.

Seconds later, Jake Decker, who had already scored six points in the game, recorded his fourth basket after posting up for two, making it, once again, a 2-point game.

A basket by Clark gave Hickman another 4-point lead, but, assisted by Zach Brown, Carlock's 3 swished in the net, and the Lakers trailed 50-49.

That's when Decker struck again, this time with a behind-the-back hook shot underneath, scoring his fifth basket of the game to retake the lead.

With just over two minutes left in the game, Carlock re-enacted Decker's shot to give the Lakers a 53-52 lead, and thirty-seconds later, he drove to the net for another basket to give Camdenton a 3-point lead.

Hickman's Douglas Johnson drilled a three, which left the Lakers with 8 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Tied at 55 to start overtime, Hickman's Johnson gave the Kewpies the lead with a rebound for a basket. Just seconds before that, Decker's layup was called back on a charge.

Ryan Elliott looked to answer with a layup on a fast break, but the Laker could only watch as his shot rolled around the rim before popping back out.

Back on defense, the Lakers looked to prevent any more scores, and Carlock came up big as he swatted his opponent's shot into the waiting hands of Zach Brown. The ball returned to Carlock's hands, where he was fouled on a shot, resulting in a free throw.

Johnson answered with a free throw of his own after being fouled by Brown, and leading 58-56, the Kewpies looked to make a defensive stand.

Carlock had other plans, though, as he posted up down low and used a pick-and-roll to put the ball in, and was fouled on the shot. His extra point swished through the net, giving the Lakers the lead, 59-58.

Whitt's jumper from the free-throw line gave Hickman a one-point lead once again with 8.7 seconds, and despite the frantic attack by the Lakers to get down the court, Knight's 3 bounced off the rim as the final buzzer rang out.

Hickman won, 60-59.

Carlock scored a game-high 24 points, followed by Decker with 10 and Brown with 8. The Kewpies had five players finish in double digits, led by Chris Clark with 17. Douglas Johnson added 16 points for the Kewpies, and Whitt finished with 15. Jordan Jones and Juwan Mahaney combined for Hickman's other 10 points.

Hickman's Chris Clark will be headed to Tennessee-Martin to play Division I basketball next fall. For Brown and Carlock, it's the end of their basketball careers. Both seniors are headed to college in the fall, and the only sports they intend to play in are the intramural kind.

Camdenton finishes the season with a 15-12 record. Hickman, meanwhile, heads to the district championship on Saturday to face Jefferson City.

"We did great from where we came in the past two years," Carlock said. "From 2-21 and then a little under .500 last year to taking the number four team in the state to overtime with a one-point loss..."

"It's a huge improvement from last year," Brown finished. "Last year, we lost by 30 points to these guys, and this year, we almost won."

"We almost won" is right. The chill creeping down the backs of Hickman's players and fans, of watching the team they defeated by 32 points last season leading them for the majority of the game, it's a very real feeling.

Kullen Carlock and the Lakers may always wonder what would have happened if they had done something differently, but they will also walk away knowing that they nearly toppled the giant. And that's what the Lakers should remember.

"We almost won."