Blue Springs South boys assistant basketball coach Josh Smith couldn’t blame South’s 66-61 loss Friday night to visiting Park Hill on lack of effort.
“I thought we had guys that competed and fought hard and laid it on the line – which, at the end of the day, is what you ask of your young men as coaches,” said Smith, who helmed the Jaguars while head coach Jimmy Cain served a one-game suspension.
During the first quarter of the Suburban Big Seven meeting and finale of a girls-boys varsity doubleheader, the Jaguars (4-8 overall, 0-3 Big Seven) did something else: They made 3-pointers.
D.J. Hyde, Khayden Hooks and Jack Gillig each sank a trey within the first three minutes to help South open with a 9-2 run. But Park Hill (8-6, 3-1) answered with a run 10-0 that began late in the first quarter and ended when Cecil Lee sank two free throws with 3:45 left in the second quarter.
The Trojans, who led 17-16 after one quarter, forced the Jaguars to play catch-up for much of the second quarter. However, the score was 25-25 at halftime, as South staged an 8-2 run during the final 3:45. South freshman post player Jaylon McDaniel knotted it at the half with a dunk as time expired.
“We already knew what they were going to do,” said McDaniel, who finished with eight points. “He (Smith) just told me to just get it as fast as I could and go.”
Smith called the dunk “a big play in the game.”
“Obviously, it swung the momentum in our favor right before the half,” the assistant coach said. “And unfortunately, we weren’t able to carry that through the second half.”
Still, sparked by McDaniel’s dunk, the Jaguars held brief leads during the third quarter. The Trojans took control by staging a 12-0 run that began about midway through the quarter and ended during the opening minute of the fourth quarter. They held a double-digit cushion for much of the fourth quarter, leading 63-46 with 1:31 remaining.
“We weren’t really hustling,” McDaniel said. “We just started to fade away. We just stopped playing defense, (started) giving them easy buckets.”
Trojans coach Chad Jones attributed the momentum swing primarily to Park Hill’s defense.
“I thought our defense was good most of the game,” Jones said. “Blue Springs South came out and hit some threes early tonight to kind of get us on our heels. And then, really, after that first five minutes, overall, I thought our defense was pretty good. We really clamped down.”
A 13-3 South surge during the final 1:31 cut the margin to five at game’s end. Jared Ravencamp, Gillig and Hyde helped power South’s effort to keep it close. The three also finished in double figures. Ravencamp led the Jaguars with 20 points, followed by Gillig and Hyde with 11 each.
Park Hill had four players in double figures, led by Ronnie Bell with 23 points.
BLUE SPRINGS SOUTH GIRLS 55, PARK HILL 36: Powered by Logan Abernathy’s 14 points, South cruised to a 55-36 win in the girls game.
“I thought we played pretty well,” South girls coach Kory Lower said. “Second half, I thought we ran our offense a little bit better – and you could kind of see that with some of the cuts we were making and the reads we were getting.”
Lauren Gillig added nine points for the South girls (6-5, 3-1).