To Blue Springs South forward Wesley Poke, South’s 67-62 comeback win over St. Joseph Central Tuesday night at William Jewell College came down to the team’s self-confidence.

To Blue Springs South forward Wesley Poke, South’s 67-62 comeback win over St. Joseph Central Tuesday night at William Jewell College came down to the team’s self-confidence.

Facing a 53-47 deficit early in the fourth quarter, the Jaguars launched a 16-0 run, which pushed them to a first-round Cardinal Division win in the Bank Midwest Holiday Basketball Classic.

“We just didn’t give up,” said Poke, who finished with 16 points and was among five players who scored during the run.

The Jaguars believe in one another, Poke said.

Poke was among three Jaguars in double figures. D.J. Booker led South with 19 points. Sophomore guard Justin Pitts came off the bench to contribute 13.

Offensively, the Jaguars (6-2) have “had multiple guys” post high-scoring games, according to South coach Jimmy Cain.

“I think when we have a team like that – where different individuals are capable of having good offensive nights on different days – it allows us to focus more on the defensive end,” he said.

Based on what Cain saw Tuesday, South’s defensive play still needs work.

“When we needed to get stops, we got stops tonight,” Cain said. “But for the most part, I felt like our defense was a little helter-skelter and wasn’t as solid as we needed it to be. And credit St. Joe Central (with that). They made some really good plays and got us on a lot of back door opportunities.”

Poke noticed inconsistency in South’s performance, but in a different way than Cain did.

“We didn’t start off that strong,” Poke said. “But the other team was a good team, so they made us compete – and they just made us come together and not give up.”

Central (4-3) showed its competitiveness during the first quarter by leading briefly twice. There were four ties during the quarter. South led 15-14 at quarter’s end.

 Trailing 16-15 early in the second quarter, South threatened to pull away by posting an 11-2 run. However, Central chipped away and cut South’s lead to three (34-31) at halftime. Brad Schlange, who was fouled while going up for a layup as time expired, sank two free throws for two of his team-leading 17 points to make it a three-point ballgame.

Central rallied from its halftime deficit by outscoring South 19-13 the third quarter to lead 50-47 at quarter’s end. There were four ties during the quarter.

“We just put a lot of energy out trying to get back into the game the third quarter, and we handled the ball relatively well,” Central coach Neal Hook said. “We executed a lot better in the third quarter, which allowed us to get back into the game.”

When the Jaguars made their 16-point fourth-quarter run, “they did a nice job of responding and put a lot of pressure on us,” Hook commented. Central made a few key turnovers during “crucial situations that we just weren’t able to bounce back from,” he said.

Cain praised the Jaguars’ ability to rally for the win by “fighting through a little adversity.” The Jaguars knew they needed “to stick together and play together so we could win the game,” Poke said.

“It was a group effort,” Pitts said.

That “group effort” put the Jaguars in the Cardinal Division semifinals, where they’ll face top-seeded Springfield Kickapoo at noon today. Kickapoo defeated Pleasant Hill 74-56 Tuesday.