Lee’s Summit North senior Javaunte Hawkins had a dream.
He shared it with his teammates on the boys basketball team before Friday’s Class 5 District 13 championship game against No. 4 state-ranked Rockhurst.
“I had a dream that we ended up winning the game by 16 points,” Hawkins said. “I told everyone about it, so we’d have it in our mind that we’re going to come out and do the job.”
His prognostication wasn’t far off.
The ninth-ranked Broncos played perhaps their best defensive game of the season and overcame an 11-0 first-quarter deficit to claim a 61-48 victory, earning their first district championship in four years.
North (24-3) advances to the Class 5 sectional round and will play the winner of Saturday’s Raytown-Blue Springs South’s District 14 championship contest next Wednesday at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
“I think this was one of the biggest wins in Kansas City in the last few years,” North coach Mike Hilbert said. “It’s one of the better wins we’ve had as a program.”
Hawkins noted that not many people gave his Broncos a chance to knock off the Hawklets, especially since they lost to Rockhurst twice in the regular season. He said he was happy to prove the doubters wrong.
“It was kind of crazy to me. People were writing us off and doubting us,” said Hawkins, who had 18 points. “We were (23-3), we had the most dominant record in the metro and we’re the best team in the metro, and we’ve been proving it all year.”
At first it looked like it was going to be a long night for the Broncos. Rockhurst jumped out to an 11-0 lead and led 11-2 at the end of the first period. North senior Elijah Smith scored the last two points of the first quarter, and that was the start of a monsterous 20-0 run that spilled into the second. North’s zone press and half-court zone flustered the Hawklets, who had six turnovers and and shot 1 of 8 in the second period.
“It just showed our experience,” Hawkins said of his team overcoming an 11-0 deficit. “We didn’t want to panic. We just trusted our offense and our coaches. We knew if we kept doing what we’re supposed to do, everything would work out.”
The Broncos scored eight fast-break points off turnovers, six of which came from steals and baskets from senior guard Mikel Henderson. Hawkins capped the run with a driving, up-and-under layup that made it 20-11. Rockhurst’s Glen McClintock finally ended the run with a 3-pointer from the top of the key. However, the Broncos took a 22-14 lead into halftime.
“We were down 14 to Blue Springs South in the conference championship game, and I knew as soon as we could make a couple of shots, that we’d turn it around,” Hilbert said. “We continued to make shots, make plays and rebound well enough.
“I thought our kids were prepared. They never flinched. That was pretty good four quarters of defense. Collectively, they were communicating as well as they have all year.”
Added Hawkins: “Mikel was the player of the game. He played amazing, down the stretch, everything.”
North carried its momentum in the second half as it went on a 8-3 run sparked by 3-pointers from Hawkins and senior Jack Gatti to make it 32-17. Rockhurst cut it to eight at one point in the third, but Hawkins countered with a 25-foot 3-pointer from the left wing as he scored eight in the period to help his team take a 41-30 advantage into the fourth.
McClintock began the fourth with a 3-pointer, but that’s as close as Rockhurst got. Hawkins answered with a trey of his own to push the lead back to 11, and Henderson fended off the Hawlets with 12 fourth quarter points, in which he made all 10 of his free-throw attempts.
“It felt great. This morning I went into the gym and shot a lot of free throws,” said Henderson, who had a game-high 22 points and made all of his 14 free-throw attempts. “I wanted to make sure I was on for tonight because it was a big game.”
After Henderson connected on two free throws with 43.1 seconds left, Hawkins embraced the Broncos student section. He looked at them while bobbing his head and waving his arms to signal for them to make more noise.
“This win means so much,” Henderson said. “They beat us twice and they came into this game confident and we did, too. We knew what we needed to do. This whole season we prepared for Rockhurst. We knew we would win conference and knew we would be a good team. But it wouldn’t matter unless we beat Rockhurst and we finally did.”
LEE’S SUMMIT WEST 59, LEE’S SUMMIT NORTH 37: The Broncos were right in the thick of things in the first half of Friday’s Class 5 District 13 championship game against the Titans.
After an old-fashioned 3-point play from Cierra Harrison gave Lee’s Summit North a 20-15 lead early in the second period, West took over. The Titans went on a 13-0 run from there to help take a 28-22 halftime lead and cruised from there in a 59-37 win at Lee’s Summit North High School.
West advances to the Class 5 sectional round to take on the winner of Saturday’s Blue Springs South-Truman District 14 championship game at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday at SEC Arena.
North struggled on offense the rest of the way, committing 10 turnovers and shooting just 27 percent from the field. The Titans took advantage and took a 46-29 lead into the fourth and expanded the lead from there.
‘They’re athletes. They are a good team,” North coach Tricia Lillygren said of West, the Suburban Big Six champion. “We got ourselves into foul trouble and we couldn’t defend the drive or in transition. You have to have those two things. We can’t keep up with a 60-point pace of scoring.”
Anija Frazier led all scorers with 17 points for the Broncos (5-20). Marissa Ritchey and Lesley Lovelace led the Titans with 11 points each.
“I am super proud of our kids,” Lillygren said. “The improvement from the beginning of the year to March 1 has been fantastic. Their hustle, resilience and teamwork … I couldn’t ask for anything more.”