• Wildcats collapse against Rockhurst

  • A high school basketball game consists of four eight-minute quarters.

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  • A high school basketball game consists of four eight-minute quarters.
    For 22 minutes in Thursday night’s Blue Springs South-Blue Springs McDonald’s Tournament, Blue Springs matched Rockhurst nearly point for point.
    Then, the wheels fell for coach Adam Jones’ Wildcats as the Hawklets went on a 13-2 run over the final two minutes of the third quarter and the first four minutes of the fourth quarter to claim a 77-63 victory that puts them in the 7 p.m. Saturday championship game against host Blue Springs South for the second year in a row.
    “South is such a solid team – their guards are so fast and can do so many things to hurt you,” Rockhurst coach Mark Nusbaum said. “We’re going to have our hands full in the championship game. And this Blue Springs team is good, too.
    “For about three quarters, this was a game. It’s deceiving to see the final score, because it was much closer than the score would indicate.”
    With just less than two minutes to go in the third period, Rockhurst’s Tom Keller hit a big 3-pointer and two layups. He and Cartier Dean then combined for the first nine points of the fourth quarter to turn a thriller into a blow out.
    “Tommy did a nice job,” Nusbaum said, “I’m pretty happy with the way the guys played tonight overall. Blue Springs is a very athletic team, and we were able to find a way to pull away at the end.”
    Jones met for a lengthy postgame session with his 2-1 squad.
    “We have to get mentally fit,” Jones said. “We didn’t handle adversity very well tonight. When they pressured us, we just kind of collapsed late in the third quarter and early in the fourth quarter.
    “We hadn’t done that the entire game, that’s why that (13-2 Rockhurst scoring) streak is so disappointing. I challenged the guys to get tougher mentally. Physically, we’re in great shape, but we have to get tougher mentally.”
    Senior forward Jay Corwin backed his coach’s comments.
    “That stretch in the third and fourth quarters was rough,” said Corwin, who finished with a team-high 15 points. “We lost our composure, and that’s really disappointing.
    “We had played so well, and they made that run and we kept turning the ball over and it was like there wasn’t anything we could do to stop them.”
    The Hawklets turned five Blue Springs turnovers into nine points during the run, and coasted to a 22-13 advantage in the final eight minutes of play.
    “It will be interesting to see how we respond against Truman in the third-place game Saturday,” Jones said, referring to the 3:15 p.m. game Saturday at South. “We need to have a good practice tomorrow and come out strong against Truman.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Kyle Wolf, who had 12 points in the first quarter, led the Hawklets with 22 points. Keller finished with 11 and Dean nine.

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