Dezi Jones scored more points in a single game Friday night than any basketball player in Hannibal High School history.
There was pandemonium in Korf Gymnasium on Friday night as Dezi Jones stepped to the free-throw line for the Hannibal boys basketball team with 22 seconds remaining.
The standout junior wasn't 100 percent certain why, so senior teammate Wyatt Waelder approached Jones before his two freebie attempts and filled him in: Jones, the Pirates' leading scorer, was sitting at 43 points for the game, one shy of matching the school record.
Jones missed the first free throw. He made the second to tie the mark.
When Marshall's Jaylen Varner missed a 3-point shot, the Pirates corralled the ball with about 10 seconds left and got it right back into the hands of their chief playmaker.
“We got the rebound, and I told him to 'go, go, go' to make sure he got that record,” Waelder said.
Jones coasted down the court for a layup, drawing a foul and making one final free throw to finish with 47 points in a 91-77 North Central Missouri Conference win over Marshall.
His performance broke Jesse Miller's single-game school record that stood for 47 years.
The home crowd gave Jones a spirited standing ovation before his last point of the shootout.
“I didn't even know I had that much,” Jones admitted. “Just an amazing feeling.”
Jones put 19 points on the board in the first half to help Hannibal take a 44-41 edge into the intermission.
Hannibal took the lead halfway through the first quarter, but visiting Marshall remained within striking distance and proceeded to knot the score seven times in the second.
A 3-pointer by Jones put the Pirates up 58-48 with 3:06 remaining in the third quarter.
Hannibal seemingly had the game under control.
But the Owls pulled back to within two points one minute into the fourth.
Kreighton Tyler rattled off the visitors' first eight points of the final period to cut their deficit down to 67-64 with six minutes left.
Jones' career night, which included five 3-pointers, was very much needed for a Pirates win.
Jones scored 16 points in the final 4:55 of the game, getting fouled by the Owls five times in the last minute to eclipse the scoring mark with the help of six made free throws.
The junior converted 15 of his 20 field-goal attempts on the night.
“They were coming out getting buckets just like we were,” he said of Marshall. “They were executing, and we were doing the same, but we came out more aggressive and with the win.”
Jones wasn't the only one surprised by how his point total crept to a historic level Friday night.
Following a postgame team meeting in the home locker room, Hannibal coach Marty Hull walked straight to the scorer's table to look at the numbers for himself.
“If you would have told me he was close to the school record tonight, I would have said, 'You're joking,'” Hull said. “But it's one of those things that he consistently is scoring so it doesn't look like he's putting up a whole bunch. He's just a great offensive weapon.”
Hannibal's total of 91 points Friday was 18 more than its previous high this season. The team scoring output fell 17 short of the school record of 107 set against Community in 1969.
With Jones paving the way, Hannibal has won five straight NCMC games. The Pirates are 8-7 overall and 5-1 in conference, trailing only Fulton's 6-0 record in league play.
Hannibal hopes to have a lot to play for over the next month.
“The conference title, that would be good,” Jones said. “We haven't had that in a few years so this could be a bounce back. We've just got to keep winning games.”