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Examiner
  • Patriots take down Kewpies

  • Despite a near late-game collapse, the Truman boys basketball team scored a statement victory in the opening round of the Blue Springs South/Blue Springs McDonald’s Tournament.

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  • Despite a near late-game collapse, the Truman boys basketball team scored a statement victory in the opening round of the Blue Springs South/Blue Springs McDonald’s Tournament.
    The Patriots upset Class 5 fifth-ranked Columbia Hickman 67-59 Tuesday at Blue Springs South High School, and although they let a double-digit lead dwindle to three late in the fourth quarter, the Pats never trailed.
    Truman controlled the first half as senior Zane Rader scored 13 of his 19 points to help the Patriots build a 33-23 advantage. They extended the lead to 45-31 late in the third before Hickman started to chip away.
    After easily handling the Kewpie press for most of the first three periods, the Pats nearly fell apart in the game’s final minutes. During one sequence, Hickman’s Jimmy Whitt stole a Truman inbound pass and scored a layup and then forced a Patriot 10-second violation on the following possession to cut the deficit to 54-50 with three minutes to play. With just more than a minute left, Truman turned the ball over out of a timeout, which sparked a 5-0 Hickman burst to cut it to 60-57.
    “We shot ourselves in the foot more than once,” said Truman coach Billy Guinnee, whose team finished with 22 turnovers. “... We’ve got a lot of young guys and they made a few mistakes, but that’s how you learn. They know what they did. I don’t have to sit here and yell at them.”
    The Patriots’ saving grace was a near-perfect performance from the free-throw line. In the fourth, Truman went 18-for-20 from the stripe and 15-for-16 in the final 4:07. For the game, the Pats shot 32-for-40 from the line. Senior point guard Lane Titus was especially reliable, hitting eight consecutive tries at one point in the final 1:20 on his way to 18 points.
    “Once I knocked down the first two, I just went for the ball,” said Titus, who added six rebounds and four assists. “I wanted it. I felt confident to just knock them down.”
    Scott Agee added 13 points and Dewayne Thornton added 10 points of the bench. Zach Huber paced the Pats with 11 boards while Rader ripped down nine and Tom Ruddy pulled down eight.
    Whitt led Hickman with 19 points.
    Despite a shaky finish and a momentary loss of composure, the Pats notched their second straight win over a ranked opponent (they downed seventh-ranked Fort Osage last Friday) and found a way to advance to Thursday’s semifinals, where they’ll meet the winner of Tuesday’s game between Blue Springs South and Kansas City (Kan.) Schlagle.
    “We’ll get better as we go,” Titus said. “We’re starting to come together already, so we’ll get a lot better.”
     
     

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