• Area powers South, Rockhurst set to meet for fourth time

  • When two basketball titans battle for a fourth time in the same season, sparks usually fly.

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  • When two basketball titans battle for a fourth time in the same season, sparks usually fly.
    That should be the case at 3 p.m. today when 24-2 Blue Springs South meets 22-5 Rockhurst in Class 5 sectional action at the Independence Events Center.
    Coach Jimmy Cain’s Jaguars own a 2-1 mark against the Hawklets this season, with a win in the Blue Springs South-Blue Springs McDonald’s Tournament and a victory in the regular-season matchup at Rockhurst. The Hawklets' lone victory came in the title game of the Shawnee Mission West Viking Classic tournament.
    “It’s a cliché,” Cain said, “but the team that makes the fewest mistakes and does the little things – like getting to loose balls, getting the big rebounds – is going to win the game. We’ve had three good games with Rockhurst this year and this should be another good one.”
    Rockhurst coach Mark Nusbaum feels the same way.
    “They got us early and we made a few adjustments and were able to get a victory over Jimmy’s kids at Shawnee Mission West,” Nusbaum said. “They have such a great team with (Carl) Martin and (Justin) Pitts – probably the two fastest guards in the state – and big Kevin (Puryear, who stands 6-foot-7) in the middle.
    “Our kids are up for the challenge and we’re all excited about the game.”
    The 3 p.m. starting time should post no concern for either team as their coaches have prepared their respective teams for such an encounter.
    “We played at 9 a.m. the day after Christmas at the William Jewell tournament,” Cain said, “so 3 p.m. isn’t going to be a big deal. We’re coming off a big win over Blue Springs (73-63 in the Class 4 District 14 championship game) and the guys are excited about playing Rockhurst again.
    “We’re hoping for a big crowd at the Events Center, even though the game is at 3 p.m. We had a huge crowd (at Blue Springs High School) for the district championship game and we hope all those fans will come on over to the Events Center.”
    There will be one new wrinkle for the Jaguars as guard Kris Butts, who has played such a big role for the team coming off the bench, will start in the place of injured Khorey Kilgore.
    “My role will change because I’m starting,” said Butts, who started in both of South’s district wins, “but I’m still going to play with intensity and fire. I’m going to come out angry and get things going.”
    Andrew Wright said the new addition to the starting lineup will not change the Jaguars’ chemistry.
    “Kris has played a lot off the bench,” said Wright, a 3-point shooter who could play a key role in the game, “so we know what to expect from him and he knows what to expect from us.
    Page 2 of 2 - “The great thing about this team is that we all know our role and all we care about is winning.”
    Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC

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