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Examiner
  • Jaguars guard eyes big gift

  • There were plenty of presents around the Pitts family Christmas tree, but the biggest and best gift is still out there according to Justin, a senior point guard on the undefeated Blue Springs South boys basketball team.

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  • There were plenty of presents around the Pitts family Christmas tree, but the biggest and best gift is still out there according to Justin, a senior point guard on the undefeated Blue Springs South boys basketball team.
    “My best present will be another championship in the William Jewell tournament,” said Pitts, who has developed into one of the premier guards in the state. “It's a dream to be 8-0, and it will be a dream to win the Jewell tournament again this year. That's one of many goals this team has this season. We want to win conference, district and go to state.
    “Going to state – that would be the biggest present of all. And I think we can do it.”
    The Jaguar standout got plenty of support to win their first game in the American Family Insurance Holiday Classic at William Jewell College.
    The Jags, ranked fourth in the state in the Class 5 coaches poll, are the top seed in the Nelson Division and coasted to a 64-56 win over St. Joseph Central Tuesday. They meet Pleasant Hill in a 6 p.m. semifinal today.
    “The thing that makes this team so special is that everyone knows their role,” said Pitts, who acts as a surrogate coach out on the court. “We all know each other so well – a lot of us have been playing basketball together since grade school.
    “And we buy into playing defense. Most of our offense starts with our defense.”
    Pitts, who is averaging nearly 15 points a game while adding several assists per game, is a one-man offensive machine. But his defense is even more spectacular.
    “Justin a player who can do it all – on both ends of the court,” South coach Jimmy Cain said. “We are so blessed this year to have two great guards in Justin and Carl (Martin). And on any given night, anyone can go out and have a big game (offensively) because we score so many points off great defense.
    “When Justin and Carl turn it up a notch defensively, it's fun to watch. I think they enjoy defense as much as they do scoring.”
    Maybe even a bit more, according to the soft-spoken Pitts.
    “A lot of teams don't seem to have fun playing defense,” Pitts said, a thin grin appearing on his face. “But that's the most fun. When you steal the ball and start a fast break – it doesn't get any better than that.”
    And Pitts can't play much better than he did in the championship game of the Blue Springs South-Blue Springs McDonald's Tournament, where the tourney MVP scored 21 points to lead the Jaguars to a 75-57 victory over eighth-ranked Rockhurst in the title game.
    Page 2 of 2 - He then poured in a career-high 27 points, fueling a 27-9 fourth-quarter run, in a 65-47 win over Park Hill.
    “Justin is one of those players who can do just about anything you need to get a win,” Cain said. “Need a basket? Need a steal? Need a big defensive play? Justin can find a way to get it done.”
    And Pitts has a quick answer when asked about his coach.
    “Coach Cain is like my second father,” Pitts said. “I have learned so much from him – about life and basketball. He treats all his players like men, and we all respect him so much. We'd do anything for Coach Cain.
    “I think one big reason we're having such a good season is because we like to see Coach Cain happy, and he's always happy when we win.”
     
     

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