Whether it’s in baseball or basketball, Blue Springs South senior Jared Ravencamp seems to almost always come up big against crosstown rival Blue Springs.
During baseball season last year, Ravencamp robbed Blue Springs’ Garrett McGowan of a game-tying home run with a leaping grab over the fence in a 8-5 South win. In a basketball game in late January, he tied a school record with 39 points in a 74-70 victory against the Wildcats.
He came up big once again on Friday night during the Jaguars’ regular-season finale as he scored a team-high 25 points and hit a pair of key free throws late to help his team earn a 68-65 home win over Blue Springs.
“It’s something I look forward to every day and it’s always a good atmosphere,” Ravencamp said of the rivalry. “Our teammates really help me out and Jaylon (McDaniel) and my other teammates made some big plays.”
These Jaguars (11-14, 5-7 Big Seven) and Wildcats (9-16, 3-9) meet again in the semifinals of the Class 5 District 9 tournament at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Blue Springs High School.
He also got plenty of help from forward Ethan Swanegan, who scored 13 points, and Jaylon McDaniel, who put in 16 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and swatted away three shots.
The 6-foot-6 McDaniel and the 6-5 Swanegan were able to take advantage of Blue Springs being without its top scorer and rebounder Daniel Parker Jr., who is out with an injury. Besides forward Braylon Cullers, who is 6-foot-4, the Wildcats didn’t have anyone else on the floor who was taller than 6-2.
McDaniel, who is ranked the No. 21 overall prospect and is a 4-star recruit for the Class of 2021 according to future150.com, put on a big performance despite some of the Blue Springs student section chanting “overrated.”
“Just stay focused and don’t even listen to it,” McDaniel said of the overrated chants. “I just keep coming out and keep doing me.
“We just wanted to attack in the paint all night.”
It was his frontcourt mate, Swanegan, though, who got the basket that put the Jaguars ahead for good in the fourth. After trailing for most of the second and third quarters, the Jaguars rallied in the fourth. Blue Springs went into the fourth ahead 54-52 and had the lead until Ravencamp nailed a 3-pointer off an assist from DJ Hyde to give South its first lead since early in the second.
Culler put in a layup to put Blue Springs back up by one, but Hyde assisted on another three, this time to Chris Walker, making it 60-58 Jags.
Blue Springs guard Stefan Black II tied the game at 61 after converting a conventional three-point play. Two possessions later, Culler made 1 of 2 free throws to put the Wildcats back ahead 63-62.
Then Swanegan put South back ahead for good when he made a putback layup off a miss from McDaniel. Ravencamp and Swanegan hit two free throws each down the stretch to seal it.
In the fourth, the Jaguars played excellent defense, getting turnovers on three of four Wildcat possessions midway through the quarter. Throughout most of the fourth, they threw traps and double-teams at Wildcats senior guard RJ Lawrence, the team’s second leading scorer who has verbally committed to Pittsburg State.
“It was a really good effort defensively in the fourth quarter,” South coach Jimmy Cain said. “I could sit here and say we didn’t guard very well, but that had a lot to do with Blue Springs. Their guys played really well. I am proud of our guys for hanging.
“RJ was making a lot of plays and so was everyone else. Our plan was to amp up our pressure and we were able to get traps, scramble and get our hands on balls.”
Lawrence, who had a game-high 27 points, missed all six of his shots in the fourth quarter and was held scoreless in the final 8 minutes.
South led 16-13 at the end of the first. Five 3-pointers from the Wildcats helped them claim a 37-31 halftime lead.
Blue Springs led by as many as 11 in the third, but South closed out the quarter on a 14-5 run to cut the deficit to two going into the final quarter.
Culler added 12 points for Blue Springs, Justin Smith had nine and Black had eight.
“When Daniel and RJ are scoring, those guys are fighting for loose balls in rebounds,” Wildcats coach Adam Jones said of Smith, Black and Culler. “They are high-character kids that help our program survive. A lot of our turnovers in the fourth were unforced like traveling without a guy guarding you or stepping over the line while inbounding the ball. Our Achilles heel has been finishing off games. I can count six games in which that happened.”