The last time the William Chrisman Bears were on the tube, Korey Stucker exploded.
“We need to petition Metro Sports to televise all our games,” William Chrisman assistant basketball coach Bill Adams joked, “because then, we know Korey Stucker is going to have a huge game.”
Some of Stucker’s teammates nodded in agreement as they soaked up the atmosphere following a hard-fought 60-55 Suburban Big Six victory at Park Hill South Friday night in a game that was televised by Metro Sports.
The last time the Bears were on the tube, Stucker exploded for 17 points and 12 boards in a win over Piper (Kan.) High School at the Hy-Vee Shootout.
But what he did against the state-ranked Panthers was even more impressive.
Stucker scored all of his 13 points in the second half, came up with the biggest steal of the night and was the man when the Bears needed a big bucket.
“Korey has had some big games for us this season,” Bears head coach John Vickers said, “but none of them were bigger than what he did tonight. When we were struggling offensively, he made some huge baskets.”
In the third quarter, Stucker hit a 3-point basket, and had a traditional 3-point play. He did the same thing in the fourth period to make sure the Panthers could never get over the hump and knot the score late in the game.
“When I found out the game was going to be on Metro, I knew I was going to have a huge night,” joked Stucker, who then got a ration of abuse from his teammates.
“Seriously, every guy who played tonight contributed. It’s great to have a big game when the game’s on TV and we’re playing in front of a big crowd. But you can go down our roster and see that everyone contributed and our coaching staff was great. They put us in position to have success and win this game.”
Justin Clark, the area scoring leader and one of the top 3-point shooters in the history of the state, came into the game needing 30 points to reach 2,000 for his career as a Bear.
He finished with 16, and couldn’t care less about not reaching that milestone in the memorable win.
“I don’t even think about things like 2,000 points,” said Clark, who will attempt to reach the 2,000-point mark next Tuesday when the Bears play host to 24 Highway rival Fort Osage.
“Right now, I’m probably happier for Korey Stucker than he is for himself because I get a lot attention and I know that my teammates deserve a lot of attention, too. Just look at this win – Josh (Yakovitz) has that big steal, Bobby (Byrom) has the big free throws, Nathan (Martin) clinches it with his free throws in the final seconds and we play every guy on the bench and they all play a role in the win.
“This is the type of win you dream about. Give me 16 points and a win at Park Hill South and I’m going home smiling.”
Long after most of their teammates had left the locker room, Clark, Stucker and Byrom emerged to a loud cheer and applause.
Many of the Chrisman fans who made the long trek to North Kansas City had waited to let their hometown heroes know how they felt.
Watching near the doors of the long hallway was Vickers.
He didn’t need to say a word.
The smile on his face, and the tears in his eyes, said it all.
Job well done, Bears.
Job well done.