MEXICO, Mo. - The Helias Crusaders simply ran out of time in their bid for a district championship.
Second-seeded Helias whittled down a 12-point deficit to three points late in the fourth quarter, but it would get no closer.
No. 1 seed Mexico advanced to the state tournament with a 45-40 victory against Helias in the Class 4 District 8 title game Saturday night.
Mexico led 39-27 entering the fourth quarter before Helias rallied. Keyed by a Dylan Gish 3-pointer and four points from Hale Hentges, the Crusaders went on an 11-2 run early in the period to cut the deficit to 41-38.
But the Crusaders could not get over the hump. Helias cut it to 43-40 with two free throws by Isiah Sykes with 1:53 remaining. But Mexico was able to run out the clock in the closing minute and iced the game with a pair of free throws.
The game was tied at 12 after the first quarter, but the difference turned out to be in the second period as Mexico outscored Helias 18-5 in the frame.
Gish and Hentges had 13 points each to lead Helias, which shot just 34 percent from the field and 19 percent from 3-point range.
Jake Willer scored 13 points and Jaeon Nunnelly had 12 to pace Mexico. The Bulldogs shot 44 percent from the field and hit five 3-pointers.
Helias ends its season at 14-13.
Mexico (23-3) will take on Duchesne in a sectional game Wednesday at Troy.