Zakila Smith wasn’t paying much attention to the clock inside the Lee’s Summit High School Fieldhouse.

Zakila Smith wasn’t paying much attention to the clock inside the Lee’s Summit High School Fieldhouse.
Blue Springs South had run nearly 1 minute, 30 seconds off the clock and there were just 30 seconds remaining in a 26-all tie.
“I just knew that if I had the chance to drive to the basket, I was going to do it,” the junior guard said. “When I looked at the scoreboard and saw there were just 30 seconds left in the game, I was surprised.”
But she wasn’t surprised when she knifed through the Lee’s Summit North defense to score the game-winning basket, leading the Jaguars to a 28-26 Class 5 District 14 first-round victory over the stunned Broncos.
With her teammates shouting encouragement from the bench, Smith hit the dramatic layup, and was fouled.
She then went to the line, and was the lone Jaguar anywhere close to the basket, as coach Fawna Harrison pulled back Smith’s teammates, to prevent any type of a fast-break, game-tying basket.
Smith did miss the free throw, but somehow managed to grab her own rebound. That allowed the Jaguars to run some valuable time off the clock.
“I didn’t want our girls to commit a foul or give up a basket off the fast break,” Harrison said. “When Smith grabbed the rebound, I thought, ‘That’s what I should tell everyone. I knew Zakila would get that rebound.’”
Senior Jaclyn Morris, who scored a team-high 10 points, was fouled with 10 seconds left.
She missed her one-and-one attempt, but a solid defensive stand in the closing seconds kept the Broncos from scoring and sent the 6-19 Jaguars into the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. Thursday against the second-seeded Titans from Lee’s Summit West.
“I knew we were running time off the clock at the end of the game,” said Smith, who finished with five points, “but coach always tells us to go to the basket if we have a shot at a layup.
“I didn’t know if there were 30 seconds, or three seconds, on the clock when I scored. I just know that I was happy to score. None of us wanted this to be our last game – especially the seniors.”
Morris emerged from the jubilant locker room sporting one of the biggest smiles.
“Coach Harrison had us convinced that everyone was 0-0 coming into districts,” Morris said. “I know that no one thought we could win this game, but we did. And that’s all that mattered.
“We played a great defensive game and Zakila hit the biggest shot of the season. When she hit it, I thought, ‘We’re going to win! We’re going to win!’”
Harrison approached South activities director and former Jaguars girls coach Mark Bubalo after the game and quipped, “Well, that was about as exciting as watching paint dry – but it was pretty exciting to us.”
South led 13-10 at halftime, but trailed 23-20 going into the final quarter as North’s Annie Sayers, who sat much of the first half with foul trouble, scored seven of her eight points.
“We put (Sara) Markway and (Brynn) Abram on Sayers in the fourth quarter, and she didn’t do anything to hurt us (hitting one of two free throws before fouling out in the closing seconds),” Harrison said. “This was just a defensive battle for both teams. The girls have been practicing hard, and they were ready for this game. I’m proud of them.”
Only three girls from North (11-14) scored as Natalie Johnson matched Morris’ game-high 10 points. Lauren Dudenhoeffer, like Sayers, finished with eight points.
South nearly lost it at the free-throw line, missing all nine of their shots while the Broncos made 6 of 7 at the stripe.