Blue Springs boys basketball coach Frank Wheeler predicted what the scouting reports would say about his team after Monday night’s 62-57 loss to Grandview.

Blue Springs boys basketball coach Frank Wheeler predicted what the scouting reports would say about his team after Monday night’s 62-57 loss to Grandview.

“I think they’re going to increase the pressure (on defense),” Wheeler said after the first-round Patterson Division defeat in the Bank Midwest Holiday Basketball Classic at William Jewell College. “And so, we either have to get more successful at doing that (handling the pressure) or we’re going to have the same result.”

Indeed, Grandview found success during the second-half with a half-court zone press, according to Bulldogs coach Randy Farris.

“We play a lot (of) different defenses,” Farris said. “Toward the end of the third quarter, going into the fourth, we finally found a defense that would work. And so we switched (to it) and we played it quite a bit going down the stretch.”

Based on Monday’s performance, opposing scouts also might encourage players to foul the Wildcats when they’re shooting, to force Blue Springs to make free throws. The Wildcats went 5-for-12 from the line, including 1-for-5 the first half. Grandview made 10 of 17 foul shots.

The Wildcats must work on their foul shooting, said senior guard D’Vante Lewis. Ironically, they work on foul shooting “a lot” already, according to Lewis.

“We shoot them after every drill we do,” said Lewis, who went 0-for-3 from the line. “And we have to run for our misses, so we work on them (in practice). Today just wasn’t our day.”

Early on, however, it appeared it might be the Wildcats’ day – or rather, night. Blue Springs led throughout the first quarter, including 15-12 at quarter’s end. Trailing 25-20, the Wildcats launched a 9-0 run late in the second quarter to lead 29-25 at halftime.

“We finished well at the end of the first half,” Wheeler said. “Until late in the fourth quarter, I thought we played all right in the second half. We went through about a two-minute stretch there when we lost the lead where we just didn’t play well.”

Blue Springs lost its lead during the third quarter. With the Wildcats up 35-30, Grandview launched a 14-3 run to lead 44-38 after three.

“In the third quarter, we came out with a lot more intensity,” Farris said. “We felt in the second quarter we stopped playing hard. Once we started playing harder, things went a little bit better for us.”

Blue Springs got within two (44-42) with 6:45 left in the fourth quarter. After Grandview (6-3) answered with a 9-2 run, Blue Springs got to within three (57-54) before Bulldogs guard R.J. Leverette sank four free throws down the stretch for the last of his 31 points to help put No. 4-seeded Grandview in Wednesday night’s Patterson Division semifinal with top-seeded Rockhurst.

Blue Springs will face Columbia Hickman in consolation bracket action at 10:30 a.m. today.