Lee’s Summit battled all game to contain sixth-ranked Blue Springs South whenever the Jaguars got the ball down low to their big men Friday. Conversely, the Tigers gave the favored Jaguars fits with their ability to dribble penetrate and create open shots or trips to the foul line.
Ultimately, the Tigers made a few more plays to avenge a pair of regular season losses and secure a 78-74 upset in the Class 5 District 13 championship at Raytown High School, bringing an unexpected ending to South’s season.
“Blue Springs South’s so good,” Lee’s Summit coach Blake Little. “I said at the beginning of the year we’ll be there in the end. We kept closing the gap and closing the gap.”
Friday, the Tigers (19-7) quickly closed a 41-36 halftime gap started the third with a 17-6 run. Then, after South’s Kevin Puryear and K.J. Robinson combined for 16 points and Brandon Kilgore’s two free throws gave South 65-59 lead with 5:20 left in the fourth, they ripped off nine straight to put the Jaguars back on their heels.
“It was a heck of a game,” South coach Jimmy Cain said after his team finished 21-5. “I think the fact we couldn’t keep them off the line the second half was the difference. I think there were calls on every drive that they had. I’ll have to go back and watch the tape, but our guys were battling like crazy.”
Lee’s Summit’s fourth-quarter push started with a Jordan Bennett 3-pointer from the corner, and Drew Lock capped it by putting back his own miss with 2:54 remaining.
South tied the game at 72 with 1:04 when Lock blocked Puryear’s initial attempt but fouled Puryear’s ensuing putback and the Jaguars junior forward converted the three-point play.
However, Lock earned a trip to the line – his fourth of the quarter – and split a pair of free throws with 50 seconds left. South was whistled for traveling on its next two possessions, and the Tigers’ Blake Spellman converted at the line after both turnovers for a 77-72 margin.
“It’s the toughness,” Lock said of the Tigers’ ability to withstand efforts like those from Puryear (30 points, 8 rebounds) and Robinson (25 points). “We had a ton of it, and we showed it tonight.”
Lock, a Division I recruit in both football and basketball, made 14 of 18 free throws and finished with 25 points and six rebounds. Bruce Bias added 13 points and eight rebounds, Spellman 11 points and Bennett 10 for the Tigers. Overall Lee’s Summit was 25 of 31 at the foul line and committed just six turnovers.
“They are a great team,” said Robinson, South’s sophomore point guard. “They’ve got a bunch of players that can go off the dribble and make plays and make free throws. Man, that was a tough game. Nothing but respect for them.”
Kilgore added nine points for the Jaguars. He, Robinson and Puryear return next season, but South forwards Kendall Blanton and Jacob Towler, who combined for 10 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks, and 3-point marksman Thomas Abarca played their final high school games.
“Both teams answered,” Cain said. “It was a great competitive battle. Congrats to Lee’s Summit for moving on in the tournament.”
Lee's Summit faces District 14 champion Fort Osage in the Class 5 sectionals at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Independence Events Center.