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Examiner
  • Jags repeat district title with successful recipe

  • The formula for the Blue Springs South boys basketball is tried and true.

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  • The formula for the Blue Springs South boys basketball is tried and true.
    The Class 5 No. 2-ranked Jaguars brought all the familiar ingredients to Friday night’s Class 5 District 14 championship. There was the steady guard play, sharp outside shooting, high-pressure defense, big production from stars Justin Pitts and Kevin Puryear and unselfish play from up and down the roster. It all added up to a convincing 73-63 triumph over rival Blue Springs at Blue Springs High School.
    “This is a group that is as poised and calm under a lot of adversity as any group I’ve coached,” said South coach Jimmy Cain, whose team snared its second consecutive district championship. “It’s served them well up to this point and hopefully it continues.”
    The Jaguars (24-2) ensured that the drama faced Friday was minimal as Pitts opened the game with two 3-pointers and South darted to a 10-0 lead. Blue Springs fought back and closed within 20-18 in the second period, but still trailed 28-21 at halftime.
    Pitts continued his hot shooting throughout the game. He scored 13 points in the first half and finished with 28 points on 10-of-15 shooting – 4 of 6 from beyond the arc. As a team, South hit 8 of 17 3-balls.
    “We trust each other to get each other the ball,” said Pitts, who also grabbed five rebounds. “Like last night, it was Kevin (Puryear), and we just kept getting the ball to Kevin and he kept scoring and scoring (in a 73-59 win over Lee’s Summit). Tonight, it just happened to be me. I trust my teammates and I love them for that.”
    Puryear also took over in the fourth quarter for the second consecutive game. After scoring the first seven points in the final period Thursday night, the 6-foot-7 sophomore totaled 10 of his 18 points in the last eight minutes against the Wildcats. That included a violent dunk with 4:53 left that he was fouled on and converted for a three-point play to put the Jags up 60-42.
    “Our kids have really bought into the team being more important than the individual,” Cain said. “You can see that every game we play. When we see matchups we feel like we can take advantage of, our guys are willing and able to go and do that.”
    The Wildcats (16-11) were slow to exit the locker room after the game as their five-man senior class graduated without ever knocking off the rival Jags. Blue Springs coach Adam Jones, who led the program to its highest win total since the 2003-04 season in his first season, admitted their emotions were still raw.
    “It’s hard,” Jones said. “There’s a lot of tears, but they’re prideful tears. Those kids are proud of what they did this year.”
    Senior Jay Corwin led Blue Springs with 24 points and junior Elijah Lee posted 14 points and 12 rebounds.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Jags advanced to the Class 5 sectional where they’ll face third-ranked Rockhurst at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Independence Events Center. This will mark the fourth time the teams have played this season. South won the first two contests by scores of 75-57 and 58-52, respectively, while the Hawklets took the third matchup 46-44.
    “I was thinking about this today, if there’s one guy in the city I want to beat it’s Coach Cain,” Jones said. “But if there’s one guy I want to see get to the final four, it’s Coach Cain, too.”
    Follow Shawn Garrison on Twitter: @GarrisonEJC
     
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