And with the Lions trailing Prosper 75-70 with less than a minute to play, Edwards stepped to the line with a chance to bring the MHS to within one possession.
Edwards, however, would clang both attempts off the iron, allowing Prosper to put the finishing touches on an 82-75 boys basketball victory at Prosper High School.
“There’s nothing more frustrating than losing games at the free-throw line,” McKinney head coach Wes Watson said about the loss to the 13-2 Eagles.
The Lions were awarded six attempts from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter and missed half of them, while Prosper made 10 of 14 attempts.
“When they’re knocking theirs down and we’re not, it’s huge,” Watson said.
Watson stressed to his team following the game that the time spent working on free throws “needs to be taken very seriously.”
“We’ve got to get better at the free-throw line,” said Watson, who added his team should not struggle with the talented shooters they have in its lineup.
Monday’s victory was Prosper’s fourth straight win, tying them atop the District 9-4A standings with Frisco Heritage. The Lions, however, fell to 7-10 after going 2-2 in the Waco Midway Tournament over the Holiday break — a tournament that took its toll on the Lions, with several players falling ill, Watson said.
McKinney High welcomed Jontrell Rocquemore back to the lineup Monday after missing the Waco Midway tournament with an illness. He gave MHS a jolt on both ends of the court, tallying 13 points along with providing solid defense along the perimeter and the post.
The road-weary Lions came off the bench strong and established a 16-13 lead after the first eight minutes. But it was the second eight minutes that Watson pointed to as McKinney’s downfall, as Prosper went an 11-0 run midway through the frame to take a 26-23 lead.
Prosper would go into the half leading 38-28, outscoring the Lions 25-14 in the second quarter.
Watson said he was pleased with how his club started the game, saying their pressure was able to force turnovers and cause issues for a fast-paced Prosper offense.
McKinney was able to force 8 turnovers in the first quarter, but that number fell to just 2 in the second quarter as the Eagles’ offense gained momentum.
“We’re not really consistent with what we do,” Watson said. “When we’re consistent on the offensive end, we’re having good possessions and getting good shots, things tend to go well for us. But I thought our shot selection suffered a bit in the second quarter and that was part of the thing that kind of got them going.”
McKinney would outscore Prosper 47-44 in the second half, but late free throws and timely shooting by the Eagles would sink the Lions.
“We’re just continuing to learn and try and get better,” Watson said.
Junior Preston Smith contributed 15 points while junior Marcus Cross added 7.
McKinney will make the trip north to Denton to take on Denton Ryan Friday at 1:30 p.m. before returning to MHS to host Coppell Jan. 7.