After coming off a big win against rival Blue Springs last week, Blue Springs South was humbled a bit on Monday.
Playing in the opening round of the 40th annual North Kansas City Invitational, the Jaguars lost 62-33 to Kearney, the four seed in the field, but No. 4 in Class 4 in the latest Missouri Basketball Coaches Association poll.
“We knew they were probably the best four seed ever,” Blue Springs South coach Kory Lower said. “We knew going in this entire tournament is loaded. The eight seed, Columbia Hickman, has a Division I K-State player and they are talented too. It will be a tough go any game here.”
The field this year features four teams that are ranked in the state poll. Top-seeded North Kansas City is ranked No. 2 in Class 5, while No. 2 seed Lincoln College Prep is No. 3 in Class 3. The third seed is Park Hill South, the No. 4-ranked team in Class 5.
That meant Kearney, now 17-1, is a four seed in the field for the second straight year. The Bulldogs were seeded fourth last year in a season in which they went to the Class 4 final four.
In the early moments of the first quarter, the Jaguars (11-6) hung around with Kearney, trailing 6-5. Then Kearney went on an 11-3 run to get some breathing room, with Sophie Lopez hitting a trey for Blue Springs South. The Bulldogs closed the frame on a 7-3 run and led 26-14. Caroline Kelly finished with 13 of her 22 points in the opening 8 minutes for Kearney.
Of the 14 points in the opening frame, the Jaguars had four different players hit a 3-pointer.
Kearney boosted its double-digit lead to 20 points late in second quarter. Taylor Frizzell scored six of her game-high 25 in the final two minutes and gave Kearney a 42-17 lead at the break.
Blue Springs South was limited to one basket in the second quarter, a 3-pointer from Sarah Elliott with 2:12 to play.
“I think Blue Springs South is a good basketball team, we just played exceptional,” Kearney coach Troy Resler said.
Blue Springs South came out in the third quarter attacking inside. While it didn't turn into baskets, Elizabeth Ernsting got to the line and hit all four of her free throws. Logan Abernathy and Lopez also added buckets outscored as the Jaguars outscored Kearney for the only time in the contest.
Despite the uptick in offense, the Jaguars were down 48-26.
Ernsting finished with 12 points and Saneea Bevley had nine, all on 3-pointers.
The Jaguars will play Hickman -– which lost 53-21 to North Kansas City – at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the consolation bracket.
“We started feeling good after beating our crosstown rival Blue Springs. We lost to them three times last year,” said Lower, whose team has already passed last year's 10-win total. “Although you hate to have it happen, this is a dose of reality. Kind of a gut check. I think Kearney is a really good team, and I think we could've played our best game and still lost, but it shouldn't have been like that. We didn't come ready to play.
“I saw better things in the second half, but still, as a group, we need to figure things out. This tournament will be good, even if we go 0-3. We will get better for the second round of conference. It will be good competition, and I think it is one of the best tournaments in Kansas City.”