Zakila Smith, a senior guard, tossed in a game-high 22 points but the tally wasn’t enough as Blue Springs South bowed out of the Class 5 District 14 tournament with a crushing 57-55 loss to Lee’s Summit West on the Jaguars’ home floor.
Zakila Smith and her Blue Springs South teammates weren’t ready to call it a wrap on their 2009-2010 season.
The senior guard tossed in a game-high 22 points but the tally wasn’t enough as the Jaguars bowed out of the Class 5 District 14 tournament with a crushing 57-55 loss to Lee’s Summit West on the Jaguars’ home floor.
“I feel like we played a good game, we just couldn’t pull off a win,” an emotional Smith said after her last game as a Jaguar. “I wanted a win.”
Smith came out on fire, tossing in four first-half 3-pointers. Matching sophomore forward Kariel Hutt, Smith scored 14 points in the opening half as the teams were tied at 34-34 at the break. Smith added two more 3-pointers in the third quarter to tie the school single-game record for 3-pointers with six.
“Coach (Fawna Harrison) said we played hard and we played with heart and she was truly excited with how we played,” Smith said. “We just didn’t get it done.”
The Jaguars took a 47-42 lead into the fourth quarter, but a stagnant offense was their demise. Smith was held scoreless in the final period as Lee’s Summit West outscored the Jaguars 15-8 to advance to Thursday’s semifinals.
A putback by Keyana Anderson put Lee’s Summit West up 51-47 with 4 minutes, 25 seconds left. Hutt, who finished with 19 points, scored on a dime pass from Smith to cut West’s lead to two. Emiah Bingley’s layup stretched the Titans lead to 54-51 with 1:36 remaining.
A Blue Springs South layup by Kailey Hancock made it 54-53 before West’s Katie Douglas, who led the Titans with 17 points, made the front end of a bonus free throw to make the score 55-53 with 1:00 left.
Two free throws by Hutt with 33.1 seconds to go tied the score, but Anderson’s layup with four seconds left proved to be the game-winner as Blue Springs South guard Jordan McNamara’s contested mid-range shot attempt came up short as time expired.
“We played hard on defense, we just didn’t have the gas on offense,” Harrison said. “West did a nice job. We weren’t attacking the basket like we needed to. We kind of got scared – like a deer in headlights – our eyes got real big there for a few minutes.”
Lee’s Summit West head coach Darin Hall said the Titans’ defensive effort on Smith was key in holding the Jaguars down in the fourth quarter. Several West players took turns hounding the 5-foot-4 inch Smith.
“We kept fresh defenders on her the whole game,” Hall said. “We were hoping when we got to the fourth quarter she was not going to be shooting such a high percentage.”
Up next for the Titans – now 14-12 after a 2-7 start – is a date 5:30 p.m. Thursday with eighth-ranked Blue Springs (21-3), the top seed.
“It doesn’t get any easier, does it?” Hall said. “We knew once the brackets came out, to advance we’d have to go through Blue Springs. They’re a good team, but we think defensively we have some kids who can match up and defend them. It’s just a matter of if we execute.”
As for the Jaguars, who finished 11-14, Harrison said she was proud of her club, which loses just one senior.
“Zakila is our only senior and she played her butt off tonight,” Harrison said. “It’s a tough loss for her, a tough loss for us. The kids played hard. It wasn’t from a lack of effort. We played our rear ends off. We just couldn’t get it done.”
LEE’S SUMMIT NORTH 40, SEDALIA SMITH-COTTON 24: Lauren Dudenhoeffer poured in 19 points and Ashley Creason added 12 as the Broncos stopped Smith-Cotton in Tuesday night’s other first-round game.
The Broncos (16-9) trailed 12-9 after one quarter. But in the second quarter, they went on a 16-2 scoring tear for a commanding 25-14 halftime lead.
Then, in an odd third quarter, the Broncos scored only one point while the Tigers (14-8) managed two.
North blew open the game by outscoring the Tigers 14-8 in the fourth quarter.
North meets second-seeded Lee’s Summit in the semifinals at 7 p.m. Thursday.