Though forced to take a different approach in the absence of Jesse Gates, the Liverpool boys basketball team handled it well at the outset, earning victories over Baldwnisville and Auburn.
And the Warriors nearly pulled if off again Friday night at Corcoran, only to give up the last eight points of the night as it lost to the Cougars 87-79.
It amounted to a possible Class AA playoff preview. Liverpool came in with a 10-4 mark, while Corcoran was 11-2 and still carried realistic hopes of getting the top seed for the tournament in three weeks' time.
Together, the two sides produced an exciting, fast-paced contest - with one scary interlude.
That took place in the last minute of the third quarter. Down by two, 59-57, Liverpool forced a turnover and Adam Misener moved to the basket, with Corcoran guard Dewan Bohannon right behind.
Misener went in for a lay-up. Bohannon blocked the ball on the way down and was called for goaltending, tying the game 59-59. But as he came down to the ground at an awkward angle, Bohannon braced his right leg on the padded side wall - and his left hip gave out from under him.
Writhing in pain, Bohannon was treated for 30 minutes and eventually taken out in a stretcher. Fired up to win for their fallen teammate, Corcoran grabbed a 68-61 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Liverpool clawed back, even taking a 77-76 lead on Richard Green's basket with 2:03 left. The Cougars' Riley Stroman hit a 3-pointer, but Green answered with another basket with 1:30 left, tying it 79-79.
But that would be the Warriors' last two points. Marsean Brown used two free throw with 1:21 left to break the tie, and he scored again off a steal with 1:02 to play. Four more points in the final minute sealed Corcoran's win.