The backcourt duo of Javaunte Hawkins and Mikel Henderson get a lot of the attention on the Lee’s Summit North basketball team. That’s because of their clutch play and ability to score.
In Saturday’s Class 5 quarterfinal matchup with William Chrisman, the Broncos got clutch plays from a pair of unlikely sources.
Seniors Tommy Erwin and Devon Richardson, who just started playing basketball this season, came up with key offensive rebounds in overtime help the Broncos take a gutsy 63-58 win over the Bears at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
The Broncos (26-3) advance to the Class 5 semifinals and will play Columbia Rock Bridge (23-3), which defeated Springfield Kickapoo 77-57 in another quarterfinal, at 5:15 p.m. Friday at John Q. Hammons Arena at Missouri State University in Springfield.
“I am so happy these guys will get to experience the final four,” said North coach Mike Hilbert, whose team last made the final four in 2011. “These kids were probably in fifth or sixth grade last time we went to the final four.”
As soon as the final buzzer sounded, the players and coaches on the North bench rushed the court and celebrated. Richardson and Erwin met with a flying hip bump. Hawkins leaped up and threw a fist pump.
Shortly afterward, the Broncos exchanged hugs and high-fives with fans in the stands.
“We’ve been pushing to do this all year,” said Henderson, who finished with 21 points. “People didn’t really believe in us. Now that we finally did it, we let everyone know that we’re here. We’re not done yet.”
North led for the entire game until junior Zachariah Rowe buried a 3-pointer to give Chrisman a 45-43 lead with 6:05 left in regulation. The Bears led until Hawkins made a pair of free throws to put North up 53-52 with 2:32 left. Chrisman senior Dawson Herl hit 1 of 2 free throws with 1:15 left and the game went to overtime tied at 53.
Rowe hit a pair of free throws to give the Bears the lead early in overtime. But Hawkins answered with a 3-pointer from 27 feet out to put the Broncos ahead 56-55.
“No matter how I play earlier in the game, it’s not going to stop me from stepping up in big moments,” said Hawkins, who shot 3 of 13 from the floor before hitting that 3-pointer. “The guy that was guarding me was off me way too much, so I let it go.”
Chrisman senior Kelvyn Mason then made a driving layup through contact to put the Bears back up by one. On the ensuing possession, North senior Elijah Smith missed a mid-range jump shot. Richardson flew in for the rebound and put in a teardrop shot that put the Broncos up 58-57.
“I was thinking that we’ve got to get a bucket no matter what,” Richardson said. “I knew they were in foul trouble, so I knew we could get the bucket or the foul. I knew I was going to get one of those.”
Rowe then hit 1 of 2 free throws to tie it. Shortly after the Broncos inbounded the ball, Richardson was fouled. He made the first free throw, but missed the second. However, Erwin chased down the rebound after the miss was just out of the reach of Herl with 1:02 left.
“That was a huge play by Tommy Erwin,” Hilbert said. “That gave us enough space to get a win.”
After a North timeout, Henderson was fouled and made two free throws. With Chrisman down 61-58, Rowe missed a contested 3-pointer and his teammate Alexander Calhoun grabbed the rebound. However, he stumbled backward into Richardson and was called for an offensive foul. The fired up Richardson clapped while on his back, stood up and threw multiple fist pumps. Hawkins hit two free throws with 12 seconds left to cap a 24-point night and seal the win.
“He plays harder than anyone I’ve ever played with,” Hawkins said of Richardson. “He and Tommy played great minutes today and we’re going to the final four because of it.
“We said we were the best team in Kansas City before and we proved it now.”
Wigfall led the Bears with 12 points, followed by Rowe with 11 and Jackson with 10 points.
Chrisman ends its season at 20-9 and will lose five seniors to graduation.
“I am thrilled (with the season),” Chrisman coach Jake Kates said. “These guys changed the culture of the program. They went from six wins two years ago to 11 last year to 20 this year. We’re on the map and we’re not going away. This is the funnest season I’ve had as a coach.”