Wildcats finally get by Broncos for district win
By Bill Althaus
Lee’s Summit North discovered Monday night at Raytown High School just how difficult it is to beat a quality team three times in one season.
“Two of their three Suburban Big Six wins were against us this season,” Blue Springs coach Adam Jones said after his Wildcats claimed a 62-50 Class 5 District 13 victory over the Broncos. “Our guys picked the right night to really play well. I’m proud of them.”
Ironically, so was North coach Mike Hilbert.
“Adam has done a great job with his team,” Hilbert said after his Broncos wrapped up a 10-15 campaign. “He should be proud of his guys. We didn’t play well tonight, and Adam had his team ready to go. You could watch our guys and read their body language and tell it just wasn’t our night – and Adam’s kids had a lot to do with that.
“We beat ’em a couple of times and it was close for a while, but we just didn’t play well at all the second half. Tomorrow night’s game between the two big rivals should be fun to watch.”
Blue Springs (14-11) meets No. 1 seed Blue Springs South (20-4) at 7 tonight at Raytown. The Jaguars stopped the Wildcats twice this season in conference action.
“Why not us tomorrow night; why can’t we get the big win?” said Blue Springs junior forward Kirk Finley, who hit six free throws in the fourth quarter and finished with 12 points. “I don’t know if many people thought we could beat North, but I know our fans did, and we had a lot of fans in the gym tonight.”
So many, in fact, that it caught senior post Cody Isabel off guard.
“We walked into the gym, and I saw all the fans sitting behind our bench and I thought, ‘We have to play well for them tonight,’ and we did,” said Isabel, who finished with 11 points. “This is my senior year, and I’m playing with a bunch of guys I love. I don’t want it to end, and I really don’t want my last game to be a loss to South, so you know we’re going to be working hard tomorrow.”
It was a hard-work ethic that helped the Wildcats overcome an 11-9 first-quarter deficit. Isabel’s layup at the buzzer gave Blue Springs a 24-23 lead at the half, and the Wildcats used a 6-0 run to start the third period to pad a lead they never relinquished.
“We played some good defense tonight, especially on their big scorers,” Jones said. “We put Darius Vaughn on (Zach) Lamb and (Caleb) Berry. He was working hard on both ends of the court because he scored a lot of big points, especially in the second half.”
Vaughn hit an early 3-pointer in the third period to help the Wildcats jump in front 30-23, and he finished with 12 points.
“Cody and I don’t want it to end – none of us do – and the underclassmen are helping to keep it going,” said Vaughn, who along with Isabel, are the lone seniors on the team. “We played well tonight, and we have to play even better tomorrow if we want to beat South.
“I think it should be a good game.”
One underclassman who played a big role in the win was junior guard Taysean Goodwin, who led all scorers with 14 points.
“This is a very special win for two special seniors,” Goodwin said. “We now play Blue Springs South tomorrow, and we’re hoping to get our first win against them like we did against North. I think we can do it. I really do. We need to play a great game.”
Lamb, Jalen Ford and Josh DeBecker all scored eight points for the Broncos.