D.J. Booker wears his emotions on his sleeve. One look at the Blue Springs South senior guard and you know exactly what he’s thinking.

D.J. Booker wears his emotions on his sleeve. One look at the Blue Springs South senior guard and you know exactly what he’s thinking.

It’s a different scenario when it comes to his backcourt mates Justin Pitts and Carl Martin. They could make a game-winning 3-pointer or miss a big free throw and their expression will never change.

“I think that’s what makes those three guys so special to our team,” South coach Jimmy Cain said as he prepares his 22-5 Jaguars for today's’s 4:45 p.m. sectional contest against Fort Osage at the Independence Events Center.

“D.J. is always talking, having fun – you know exactly what he’s thinking – and Carl and Justin haven’t said two words all season. Their personalities are so different from D.J.’s, but it all works.

“They know their roles, they are so good at what they do and they’re a big reason we’re back in the sectionals.”

For the first time in the past three years, the Jaguars found a way to get past Suburban Big Six rival Lee’s Summit North in the district title game.

Booker finished with a game-high 21 points and hit several key free throws down the stretch, Martin drilled two big 3-pointers at the end of the third period to help the Jaguars take a 40-35 lead into the final quarter and Pitts played solid defense against some of North’s top offensive threats.

“I’m so proud to be a part of this team and to play with Justin and Carl,” said Booker, who along with senior center Wesley Poke, inherited a team leadership role this season.

“We all knew they were going to be good, because they were so good as sophomores last season. But they have really worked hard and brought their game to a new level.”

That comment brings a smile to the faces of Pitts and Martin.

“For me, it’s all about winning – that’s how every player feels,” Pitts said. “There will be games where I’ll score some, and games where Justin and D.J. score some. But if we win, that’s all that matters.
Martin shakes his head in agreement.

“Winning, that’s all we care about,” Martin said. “This is such a good team because all the guys want to do is win. We don’t care about the individual stats. I think the reason we have been so successful this season is because we know our roles.”
And they are comfortable in those roles.

“This year’s team finally broke through and won a district title, and I couldn’t be happier for the guys,” Cain said, “but the foundation was built last year with players like Shawn Meyer, Drake Patterson and Darrion Geiger. They came close to winning a district title and the underclassmen on that team saw how hard they worked and they have carried that work ethic over to this season.

“And all the guys on the team this year have that work ethic. It’s been fun to be around the guys on the team this year because they’re great kids and they work hard. This is the type of group you want to keep winning so you can keep seeing them at practice and games.”