Lee’s Summit North guards Javaunte Hawkins and Mikel Henderson put on a show in a marquee Suburban Big Six boys basketball matchup against Blue Springs South Tuesday night.
But North coach Mike Hilbert and the talented backcourt duo were quick to point out that it took a total team effort to stop the visiting Jaguars 81-71.
Hawkins hit six 3-pointers, was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line and scored a game-high 34 points. Henderson complemented his best friend’s performance with a 20-point night and solid play on both ends of the court.
“Mikel has been my best friend for as long as I can remember,” Hawkins said as he visited with fans and members of the Jaguars team after the game. “It’s so much fun to go out and play with him in the same back court.
“Coming into this game, we knew we had to take our game to another level, and we did. And by we, I mean the entire team. South is so good with players like Jaylon (McDaniel) and Caleb (Israelite), and we needed a great game from everyone on our team to get this win. And we got it.”
Added Henderson: “All the guys played well, and Coach Hilbert does such a great job subbing off the bench, especially early in the game. He wants us fresh and ready to go in the second half and I think we kind of wore them down late in the game.”
The Broncos’ offense was relentless. Their defense, a full-court pressure-cooker defense, was even more relentless.
“Our guys played a great game tonight,” Hilbert said after the Broncos improved to 10-2 overall and 2-0 in the conference. “Everyone sees Javaunte hit the threes and what he and Mikel do in the backcourt, but Jack Gatti hit a 3-pointer that was the dagger to the heart in the third period (at 3:08, giving North a 56-46 lead they never relinquished); Elijah Smith scores 11 points and gets some big boards; and I know Jaylon scored 23, but I thought the guys inside did a great job keeping him from dominating the game.”
When told about Henderson’s praise for his subbing, Hilbert grinned.
“It’s easy to do when you can bring in Christian Carter – maybe the best all-around athlete in the state (a state sprint champion and an all-state football player) and Devon Richardson, the state high jump champ.
“We have some great athletes on this team. They know their roles, they’re having fun and I have the best seat in the house to watch it every night.”
It took awhile for Hawkins to get hot from outside, as he was just 1 of 6 on his first 3-point attempts. That helped the Jaguars (7-5, 0-1) take a 22-18 lead into the second period.
But once the senior guard got on track, he was unstoppable.
Hawkins scored 15 points in the second quarter and drew the praise of South coach Josh Smith.
“He’s a great player, and he had a great game against us tonight,” Smith said. “They’re backcourt is outstanding – they just played a great overall game tonight.”
Israelite added 16 points and Khayden Hooks had 10 for the Jaguars.