• Jags, Wildcats win to set up Cat Clash

  • For a few anxious moments Thursday night, it looked like the Blue Springs South boys basketball team’s postseason run might come to a jarring halt just one game in.

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  • For a few anxious moments Thursday night, it looked like the Blue Springs South boys basketball team’s postseason run might come to a jarring halt just one game in.
    Then, the Class 5 No. 2-ranked Jaguars did what they’ve done all year. They kept their heads, tightened up their defense, got some big fourth-quarter shots from 6-foot-7 sophomore Kevin Puryear, knocked down some late free throws and held on for a 73-59 Class 5 District 14 semifinal win over Lee’s Summit at Blue Springs High School.
    South (23-2) built a 39-27 halftime lead as Puryear tallied 14 points, five rebounds and two blocks in the first two quarters. But the Tigers rallied in the third, trimming the deficit to 52-48 as the Jags started 2 for 10 from the field in the second half.
    With Lee’s Summit (10-16) holding momentum after Drew Lock’s putback just before the third-quarter buzzer, Puryear went to work to start the fourth. He scored seven straight points to start the period, including his third 3-pointer of the game.
    “We felt like we gave them some easy buckets in the third,” said Puryear, who finished with a team-high 26 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. “But we fought hard and played some defense going into the fourth. We were a lot more aggressive.”
    His teammates followed his lead as Kendall Blanton notched a second-chance bucket and Carl Martin knocked down a shot during a 12-2 run to start the quarter that gave South a 64-50 advantage. The Jags hit 7 of 8 free throws in the quarter to pull away and advance to Friday’s championship against rival Blue Springs.
    “Everybody’s fighting for their lives,” South coach Jimmy Cain said. “Nobody wants their season to end. No matter who you’re playing, no matter who you’re when you’re playing. Our kids, as they’ve done all year, stayed composed and made plays when they needed them.”
    Martin poured in 17 points and swiped three steals for South while Kris Butts totaled 12 points and Justin Pitts added 11 points and three steals.
    Lee’s Summit sophomore Drew Lock paced the Tigers with a game-high 32 points.
    BLUE SPRINGS 78, LEE’S SUMMIT 67: The Wildcats started Thursday’s Class 5 District 14 semifinal with an offensive flurry, splashing five 3-pointers during a 23-point first quarter.
    They used that hot start to build a 45-34 halftime lead and then persevered through a physical second half that included 32 foul calls to advance to Friday’s championship against Blue Springs South.
    Jay Corwin boosted Blue Springs (16-10) with 17 points, but it was Jaylin Dinkins’ three treys in the opening period that set the tone for a fast-paced first half in which the Wildcats shot 16 of 30 from the field and committed just two turnovers.
    Page 2 of 2 - “We got our shooters shots,” said Blue Springs coach Adam Jones, whose team notched its highest win total since the 2003-04 season. “Jaylin got hot and Jaylin can do that when he gets hot. He’ll make shots. He’s done that for us throughout the year.”
    Jones warned his team at halftime that the game would get much more physical in the final two quarters, and they responded. Although the Broncos (15-9) never faded, and closed within 68-63 on Tyler Anderson’s basket with 1:36 left, Blue Springs found the wherewithal to hold on and set up a third meeting with the rival Jaguars.
    “We faced adversity – as our coach always talks about – by staying mentally strong,” said Dinkins, who finished with 14 points. “They came close, but we just had to toughen up, work hard as a team and just make sure we got this victory so we can play our crosstown rivals again.”
    Five Wildcats scored in double figures as Elijah Lee registered 12 points and seven boards and Donte Watkins and Walter Sorrells added 10 points apiece. Brian Armstrong also chipped in with nine points and four rebounds.
    Richard Chapman paced North with 17 points while Anderson finished with 15 and Rob Durbin posted 14.
    Blue Springs South won both regular-season meetings with the Wildcats by scores of 74-58 and 74-65.
    “This senior class has never beat them,” said Dinkins, a senior. “We’re really hungry to beat them.”
    Follow Shawn Garrison on Twitter: @GarrisonEJC

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