Blue Springs South center Wesley Poke is only listed at 6-foot-3 on the Jaguars’ roster. But the senior plays like a 7-footer.

Blue Springs South center Wesley Poke is only listed at 6-foot-3 on the Jaguars’ roster. But the senior plays like a 7-footer.

Just ask Blue Springs South coach Jimmy Cain, who watched his undersized big man dominate play in the paint Friday to lead the Jaguars to a 51-45 victory over Lee’s Summit North in the Class 5 District 13 championship Friday at Blue Springs South High School.

“Wes just plays with so much heart,” Cain said after watching Poke score nine points and grab 11 boards. “All of our kids do. And they played hard tonight, hard and smart. I’m just happy for them. We finally got over the hump.”

Poke, who gave up as much as 5 inches and 30 pounds to his Lee’s Summit North opponents, grabbed big rebound after big rebound and sealed the championship at the line, where he hit a big free throw with 15 seconds left in the game.

The 22-5 Jaguars will meet Fort Osage in the Class 5 sectional playoffs at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday at the Independence Events Center.

Ninth-ranked South had lost two conference games to Lee’s Summit North this season and fell to the Broncos in the district title game the past two years.

“We went into this game thinking there is no way we can lose to them three years in a row (in the district championship game),” Poke said.

“Those North players are pure class, great players and great guys. But we wanted this one so bad. I know I was a lot smaller than the guys I played against tonight and I used that to inspire me. We played with a chip on our shoulders and we came out as a team knowing that if we played our best game, we could win.”

South took an early 11-3 lead, but the eighth-ranked Broncos came back to grab a 12-11 lead on two Rob Durbin 3-pointers.

North led 14-11 after one period, but the Jaguars stepped up their defense in the second quarter and it was a 25-all game at the half.

Poke set the tone for the second half with a steal and a basket-to-basket jam that had the standing-room-only South student section roaring.

“That got everyone fired up,” Cain said grinning. “We needed something like that to start the second half.”

Carl Martin hit two 3-pointers and the Jaguars used a 17-12 advantage to take a 40-35 lead into the final eight nail-biting minutes.

Cain used a spread offense to take time off the clock, but the veteran coach knew his team would need to hit free throws to pull off the big win.

No problem.

Every time the Broncos made a run, D.J. Booker either made a twisting layup or hit a key free throw to maintain his team’s lead.

North’s Will Harrington, a three-year starter for the Broncos, hit a 3-pointer with 1:09 to play to cut the deficit to 47-45, but Booker answered with two big free throws.

“I felt calm at the line,” said Booker, who scored a game-high 21 points. “I wanted to be at the line. I wanted the ball in my hands at the end of the game.”

Harrington’s 3-point basket was the last points of the night for the Broncos as Booker and Poke added key free throws to secure the win.

“I am so happy for Jimmy and his kids,” North coach Mike Hilbert said after his team wrapped up a 21-6 season.

“They have been knocking on the door for two years. I haven’t even talked to my kids yet and it’s going to be tough to say goodbye to some great seniors, but I really am happy for South. They played us hard. When Will got that last 3-pointer I was thinking, ‘Here we come,’ but we just didn’t have enough offense to get the lead.”

Harrington finished with 16 points and Matt Ellwood added 13 for North.