For the first three quarters of Blue Springs South’s Suburban Big Seven showdown with Lee’s Summit, they weren’t playing the Jaguar brand of basketball – tough, hard-nosed defense and sharing the ball on offense.
That led to Lee’s Summit leading by as many as 18 in the third period, and it looked like it might run away with it. But South senior Ethan Swanegan made a basket inside with 10 seconds left in the game to give his team a 65-64 lead.
But the Tigers went to the other end and scored with 1 second left. Will Eames temporarily lost the ball, but gathered it and passed out of a double team to find Seth Romi wide open in the corner to for the game-winning 3-pointer as they upended the Jaguars 66-64 Tuesday.
For most of the game, the Jaguar defense struggled to defend Eames and Jaden Moore, who combined for 41 points.
Eames had some nifty posts moves, including a lightning-quick spin move that helped him get baskets inside which led to his game-high 22 points. Moore, on the other hand, often got past South defenders off the dribble and on the fast break and drew a handful of fouls on his way to 19 points.
Eames scored 15 points in the first half to help Lee’s Summit go into the second quarter up 15-11 and push the advantage to 32-25 at halftime after he deked a South defender with a spin move and made a basket underneath at the buzzer.
The Tigers then caught fire in the third period, shooting 8 for 13 from the floor and pushing the lead as high as 18, with the last one being a 51-33 edge after Eames received a pass from Moore in transition and made a fast-break layup. South senior Jared Ravencamp, who had 13 points, converted a three-point play to halt a 15-6 run and jump-start a 6-1 Jaguar run capped by a pair of free throws from DJ Frost. That cut the lead to 52-40 heading into the fourth.
It was at that point when South (8-10, 2-4) started turning things around by playing tough defense and being efficient on offense.
“We didn’t have a lot of life in the first three quarters,” South coach Jimmy Cain said. “We didn’t have much energy at all until we were close to laying on the canvas. I was proud of the way we fought, but that should be the expectation, to fight to the end of the game.
“We spent a lot of the first three quarters frustrated and trying to make our on plays instead of trusting each other. That changed in the fourth. Our energy level changed. We were completely different.”
That Jaguars slowly chipped away at the lead and narrowed the gap to 56-51 following a 3-pointer from reserve guard DJ Hyde, who had 11 points. He hit another three with 1:55 left in the quarter to cut the Tigers’ edge to 63-61. The teams traded empty possessions after that until Khayden Hooks made 1 of 2 free throws. Swanegan, who had a team-high 15 points, powered his way to the goal for the go-ahead bucket late in the fourth before the Tigers spoiled South’s tremendous comeback with the game-winning shot.
“We felt like we had an advantage down low,” Swanegan said of his more aggressive play on the low block. “It felt like they just sat behind the post. We felt like if we get post touches, we could get shooters open, too. We did that better in the late third and early fourth. We just had to get back to our style of play.”