With two freshmen in the starting lineup to open the season against Lee’s Summit West and another fresh face in the rotation, Blue Springs South needed junior post player Kariel Hutt to play big. Hutt pulled through in the Jaguars’ 63-58 season-opening win over the Titans, but she was delayed a little.
By TORIANO L. PORTER
With two freshmen in the starting lineup to open the season against Lee’s Summit West and another fresh face in the rotation, Blue Springs South needed junior post player Kariel Hutt to play big.
Hutt pulled through in the Jaguars’ 63-58 season-opening win over the Titans, but she was delayed a little.
Hutt went to the bench after being saddled with two fouls in the first two minutes of Tuesday’s game at Blue Springs South, leaving the Jaguars without one of the premier post players in Eastern Jackson County for nearly a half.
Determined to make amends for her early foul trouble, Hutt came back in the second half with a vengeance, posting 14 points, five rebounds, three assists and three blocks in just under 16 minutes of play.
Hutt’s outburst, and the play of freshman point guard Shannon Hughes and fellow freshman shooting guard Remy Davenport, guided the Jaguars to the victory.
“Kariel is working on keeping her emotions intact,” Jaguars head coach Fawna Harrison said. “She’s going to have a lot of attention this year, so she’s going to have to really not get frustrated.
“There’s going to be two and three people hanging on her all game. She came out in the second half, settled down a little bit and did a good job.”
Davenport led the Jaguars with 17 points, including making 3-of-5 3-point attempts. Known on the summer league circuit for her shooting prowess, Davenport showed more than just a shooter’s touch with three rebounds, two steals and an assist.
Hughes scored 12 points, grabbed five rebounds and handed out four assists. She was 4-of-6 from the free throw line. Another freshman, Brooke Jacobson, came off the bench and contributed eight points, two rebounds and a steal.
“That might have been the most excited and happiest I’ve ever been as a coach,” Harrison said of the win. “They worked their tail ends off. We did have a lot of young girls – the older girls helped them – and they weren’t nervous, they settled down, and they were everywhere.”
After sitting on the bench for nearly two quarters of action, Hutt said it was important for her to come out in the third quarter and establish a presence on the floor.
“I frustrated my team. I let them down really bad,” Hutt said. “I didn’t know what to do, so I came out and had to prove that I could come back from (foul trouble).
“I had to prove to the other team it was just the fouls. I wanted to help my team out. I just had to prove myself.”
An Examiner All-Area second team selection a year ago, Hutt wasted little time exerting her will against the Titans. Her basket a minute and a half into the third quarter gave Blue Springs South its first led of the night at 28-26 after the Jaguars got down 17-12 after one quarter and were tied at 24-24 heading into halftime.
After a basket from Lee’s Summit West guard Emiah Bingley put the Titans ahead 30-28, Hutt went to work.
She followed Bingley’s basket with a layup and a foul. Although Hutt missed her follow up free throw attempt, she grabbed her own miss for a putback and a 32-30 Blue Springs South lead with 5:00 to go in the third period.
Hutt later added another bucket to tie the game at 34-34, giving her eight of the Jaguars’ first 10 points of the half. The Titans fought back, however, taking a 39-37 lead into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter was the Hughes, Hutt and Davenport show. Hughes kicked it off with an assist on Davenport’s layup to open the quarter and tie the game 39-39.
Hughes followed with another assist to junior Meredith Schyvinck, of which Hutt followed with a pair of free throws for a 43-39 Blue Springs South lead with just under 7 minutes to play.
Bingley’s layup cut South’s lead to 43-41, but Hughes came out of a Jaguars timeout with a layup to push the lead back to four points.
A conventional three point play by Bingley, who led Lee’s Summit West (0-1) with 16 points and five rebounds, cut the Jaguars’ lead to 47-46. Bingley followed that by converting one of two free throws to tie the score at 47-47 with 4:18 left on the clock.
Hutt and Davenport spearheaded an 11-4 Blue Springs South run over the next three minutes to create separation. Davenport followed Hutt’s layup with a steal and layup and Hughes hit the front end of a bonus free throw to give South a 52-47 lead with 3:12 left.
Jordan McNamara then nailed down two free throws of her own, which Hutt followed with another layup. A short jumper by Davenport gave Blue Springs South a 58-51 lead with 1:40 to go in the game.
Hughes and Davenport finished the game off by hitting a combined 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch.
“You can’t coach height and speed,” Harrison said. “It’s either there or it’s not and Shannon’s fast. She’s got good basketball instincts. She didn’t play like (a freshman) tonight. Neither did Remy.”
Added Davenport: “It was a lot of fun. I liked it a lot. It was really exciting for us to start off with a win. It was awesome.”