A strong defensive effort gave the Blue Springs boys basketball team a big win Friday.

The Wildcats jumped to a 17-8 lead after one quarter and rolled to a 55-38 victory over three-time Kansas Class 6A state champion Blue Valley Northwest Friday in their home opener.

“Big win for us tonight,” Wildcats coach Adam Jones said after his team improved to 2-0. “The kids played their tails off on the defensive side. I was really pleased with our growth as a team this week after our tough win on Monday night versus Lee’s Summit West. We had three great practices this week and got better at some of the things we did not do real well earlier this week. Tonight we got a taste of what we're hoping to be this season.”

Braden Applehans scored 22 points, including 13 in the final quarter, to help the Wildcats pull away. Xavier Loyd added 13 points, including a pair of key 3-pointers in the first quarter, and Ikenna Ezeogu had 12 points.

“Xavier Loyd gave us a spark off the bench in the first quarter, and Ikenna Ezeogu did a phenomenal job defending one of their top players Markel Hood,” Jones said. “Braden Appelhans hit big shot after big shot to help us extend the lead in the fourth quarter. It was a great night for Blue Springs basketball.”

KEARNEY 48, FORT OSAGE 44: Fort Osage tied it late only to stumble at the free throw line in its season opener Friday.

The Indians, who tied it with two minutes left, had several opportunities to grab the lead late but went 1 of 6 from the free throw line in the final moments to fall to host Kearney.

“We had a lot of chances late but couldn’t knock down the shots,” Fort Osage coach Josh Wilson said. “And there were a lot of 50/50 balls that we did not get our hands on.

“We’re pretty inexperienced. A lot of guys got their first varsity experience tonight, so we’ll build on that and keep going.”

Xavier Kahube scored 11 points and Braden Pottberg and Miles Dunfield added nine each to lead Fort Osage (0-1).

The Indians led 12-11 after one quarter but Kearney took a 25-23 advantage into the intermission.