• Cats hold off Cards

  • Blue Springs seniors Jay Corwin and Jaylin Dinkins had the same attitude when they each shot their clutch free throws Friday night at Raytown South.

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  • Blue Springs seniors Jay Corwin and Jaylin Dinkins had the same attitude when they each shot their clutch free throws Friday night at Raytown South.
    The results were the same, too: Both good. And in helping the Wildcats hang on for a 69-63 victory, the twosome helped the Wildcats wash away the bitter taste of a recent loss to Grandview.
    Corwin’s two foul shots with 9.9 seconds to play gave Blue Springs a 67-63 lead. For Corwin, who finished with 16 points, the key was to “stop thinking about everything and just try to focus on shooting my free throws,” he said.
    Dinkins, who also finished with 16 points, iced it by sinking two free throws with 1.7 seconds left. He tried to block out everything around him, in keeping with the team’s philosophy toward beginning any quarter.
    “Every quarter, we start over – zero-zero,” Dinkins said.
    A coaching tip also proved helpful.
    “In practice, I was missing (free throws),” Dinkins said. “And the coach told me to take my time. Taking a breath before shooting really helped.”
    Blue Springs coach Adam Jones praised the Wildcats for the fight they showed Friday. He also praised them for rebounding from Tuesday night’s 73-64 road loss to Grandview.
    “We were very frustrated after that Grandview loss,” Jones said. “But our kids responded and came out and played with intensity on both ends of the floor.”
    Dinkins credited the Wildcats’ team resiliency to team unity. He attributed that unity to a lunchtime team meeting held shortly after the Grandview loss to address the team’s collective frustration.
    “We all came together as a team and focused on the positives and (agreed to) work to get better at (eliminating) the negatives,” Dinkins said.
    Cardinals coach Brad Oestreich praised his own team’s resiliency and suggested South’s ability to fight back from a double-digit deficit and force Blue Springs to win it with free throws would help his young team grow.
    “I’ve really only got one returning varsity player, so every night’s a learning night for them,” Oestreich said. “We’re slowly starting to get used to being put in that big moment.”
    The tight finish was in keeping with how the non-conference meeting had begun. The largest first-quarter lead was 18-12 by South. It was tied 22-22 at quarter’s end. Junior Walter Sorrells helped the Wildcats fight for control by scoring eight of his 19 total points during the seesaw quarter.
    After building a double-digit second-quarter lead, the Wildcats (7-5) led 37-30 at halftime. They built a double-digit cushion again during the third quarter and were up 52-38 at quarter’s end. However, the Cardinals (4-6) chipped away during the fourth quarter. Kalan Tucker’s dunk with 2:15 remaining cut Blue Springs’ lead to 63-61.
    Page 2 of 2 - Following a basket by Wildcats senior Justin Pruitt, Samson Tucker sank a jumper with 1:26 remaining to make it a two-point ballgame again. Tyrone Gibbs had a chance to tie it again when he shot two foul shots with 25 seconds left. But the South sophomore missed them both.
    Then, Corwin and Dinkins went to work.
    “(They) gave us that separation that we needed to finish it off,” Jones said.

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