Blue Springs South got a little bit of luck go its way to snap a three-game losing skid on Friday night.
The Jaguars held on for a 64-62 boys basketball victory on the road against Raytown, but not before a frenzied final 12 seconds saw Blue Springs South struggle to put away the win.
After a pair of free throws from Johnny George gave the Jaguars a 64-59 lead, Raytown got within a bucket on a 3-pointer from Aubrey Martin, who finished with a game-high 25.
Blue Springs South was fouled with 11.5 seconds left, but missed a one-and-one free-throw attempt and Raytown grabbed the rebound. The Blue Jays (3-3) missed a 3-pointer and Blue Springs South got the ball and went to the line with 1.7 seconds left.
The Jaguars missed another free throw shot and Raytown got the rebound again and called timeout with 0.7 seconds.
The only chance for Raytown to tie or win was for a Grant Hill-to-Christian Laettner-like play to transpire but it didn't happen. On a spot throw-in, 6-foot-6 Cade Berg blocked the view of the inbound passer for Raytown. The inbound throw bounced off the top of the roof to seal the win for the Jaguars, who improved to 4-3 overall.
“It is big, we had three losses in a row, we had to come out and get a 'W,'” said Blue Springs South guard Khayden Hooks, who led the Jaguars with 18 points. “We bounced back. We played as a team and we knew we had to come back and get a win. We knew they played hard and they are scrappy. We knew we would have to play together.”
Blue Springs South, coming off a loss to state-ranked Park Hill South on Tuesday, held a 54-47 lead going into the fourth. A quirk spurt by the Blue Jays pulled them within 54-51 less than 2 minutes into the final frame and set up a battle the final 6 minutes.
The first of two times Raytown pulled within a basket came with 2:20 left after a steal and bucket by Martin, but Caleb Israelite scored with 1:32 left – after Blue Springs South dribbled nearly 45 seconds off the clock – to boost the lead to 62-58. A turnover by the Jaguars set up a drive-and-foul situation and two free throws for Martin with 35.4 seconds left. He made the first and missed the second and Blue Springs South got the rebound, which led to George's free throws.
“I told the guys before the game and I told them at halftime, this won't be easy. This will be a fight to the finish,” Blue Springs South coach Josh Smith said. “It is a four-quarter game. It is 32 minutes. Both teams, especially two quality teams, both teams will make plays and there will be runs.
“Our guys, I think, are getting to the point where they understand that. They realize are going to land a couple of punches and we will take a couple. You have to absorbed those blows and come back and land a few and I felt we were able to that.”
In the battle of Class 5 District 14 foes, Blue Springs South opened on a 10-0 run in the first quarter and held Raytown without a bucket for 3 1/2 minutes in the first quarter.
The Blue Jays came back in part to lack of depth for Blue Springs South, who used only seven players in the game. Smith noted Ovi Johnson, a junior guard, was absent with the flu.
Blue Springs South led 22-15 after the first quarter and the advantage grew to 42-33 at the break. Israelite, who had 15 points, tallied 13 of them in the first half for the Jaguars.
Jaylon McDaniel added 16 points, including three dunks, to help lead the Jaguars. The sophomore had one more dunk than Raytown's Desmond Hutson, the Iowa-bound football player who finished with 19, and had an alley-oop dunk in the third quarter.