With visions of last year’s miracle run to the district championship game running through his head, Ja’Wan Davis was not letting Fort Osage lose Tuesday.

With visions of last year’s miracle run to the district championship game running through his head, Ja’Wan Davis was not letting Fort Osage lose Tuesday.
Davis scored a school-record 36 points – including 17 in the fourth quarter – helping the fifth-seeded Indians knock off fourth-seeded North Kansas City 77-66 in the first round of the Class 5 District 15 Tournament at William Chrisman High School.
The Indians now face No. 1 seed and host Chrisman at 6 p.m. Thursday.
“I believe in my team,” Davis said. “Everyone believes in each other. Chrisman’s a good team, and we’re a good team. It’s going to be a good game.”
It took perhaps the best individual offensive game in Fort Osage history to set up that matchup.
Up 18 early in the third quarter, the Indians (9-17) started struggling down the stretch, watching North Kansas City go on a 13-0 run to cut the lead to three points, sparked by senior Alex Ross and junior Reggie Maxwell, who each scored 22 points.
“That’s what happened at our place,” Indians coach Josh Wilson said. “We got up 14 and they cut it to one. We had a good first possession, then we had four or five turnovers. Maxwell’s a good player and Ross is a good player.”
Down the stretch, with the Indians nursing a single-digit lead, the game seemingly became a battle of wills between Ross and Davis, with each answering the other’s baskets and points. Davis scored 13 of the last 17 Fort Osage points to help put the game away.
“I’m always happy with the guy I’ve got on my side,” Wilson said, referring to Davis. “He just continues to do amazing things. He wants to win districts. And tonight, he got his teammates to come with him.”
With 3 minutes, 49 seconds left, Davis hit his only 3-pointer of the game, which was followed by a Jesse Kribbs bucket to put the lead at 11 points after Maxwell and Ross hit back-to-back 3-pointers.
The Hornets never got the lead to within five the rest of the game.
“I knew I had to step up and knock it down,” Davis said.
Down the stretch, Davis and Ryan Baldin combined to hit eight straight free throws to put the game away.
However, in the second quarter, a different Indian was poised to be the hero.
Tylor Moore had come off the bench and scored eight points in a 10-0 run that allowed the Indians to take an early 27-11 lead just more than two minutes into the second quarter.
“We rebounded and dished it out well,” Moore said. “We kept passing the ball and getting open shots.”
Davis said he was proud of what Moore was able to do in the second quarter. Moore finished with 12 points, including a 3-pointer.
“Moore’s a good player,” Davis said. “He runs the floor and finishes well.”
And though they didn’t put up the offensive numbers Moore did, Wilson said he was also happy with the performance D.J. Nunez and Jesse Kribbs put in defensively on 6-foot-6 big man Garrison Plummer.
“D.J. and Jesse did a great job on their big kid,” Wilson said. “We did good with the help-side defense. There were numerous times Ross would run into D.J. or Jesse and have no place to go.”
With the first upset, the Indians already have visions up last year’s district tournament, where a pair of upsets sent the Indians to the district title game, where they fell to Truman.
“Last year our motto was, ‘You’ve gotta believe,’” Wilson said. “It was yesterday or the day before, Ja’Wan was talking to the guys, saying it can be like last year, and that if they believed in each other, good things could happen. We know it’s not an easy task, but we believe in each other.”
Moore echoed his coach’s statement.
“I see us going all the way if we keep our heads up – no letdowns like last year,” he said.