Consistency and a brilliant fourth quarter defensive scheme helped the Blue Springs South boys basketball team remain undefeated.
The Jaguars claimed a 54-36 victory over Jennings in the opening round of the Blue Springs School District Basketball Tournament Thursday night at Blue Springs High School.
The Jaguars scored 14, 15, 13 and 12 points in each quarter and held the Warriors to just four points in the final period.
South (3-0) will play in the 8:30 semifinal game tonight against the winner of the late game between Rockhurst or Bentonville (Ark.).
The Jaguars broke out on top early as they ran to a 14-6 first-period lead as six different players scored and every member of the South team turned in a solid defensive performance as the Jaguars were held to just two 3-pointers by Damario Shanklin, who led all scorers with 18 points.
“This really was a great team win,” said guard Johnny George, who finished tied with teammate Ovi Johnson with eight points in the game. “I think the biggest reason we’re 3-0 this year is because of our defense.
“We kind of let them back in the game a little in the third quarter, but we had that solid fourth quarter and got another win.”
The 2-1 Warriors used a 12-6 third-quarter spurt to cut their 29-16 halftime deficit to 35-28 at 2:08, but they never got closer.
“I thought we turned up our defensive intensity a couple of times in the game, and overall, I was happy with how we played,” South coach Josh Smith said. “We can play very effective defense. We just need to go out and do it.
“And we did at the start of the game and in the fourth quarter. Now, we just need to find a way to do it for four quarters.”
The Warriors did not score a field goal in the fourth quarter until Jaylen Craig hit a layup at 3:37.
Khayden Hooks starred at both ends of the court for the Jaguars as he scored a team-high 13 points and hauled in six rebounds.
“Defense and getting rebounds are two of our keys to success,” Hooks said. “We want to do well in this tournament since it is in our hometown and we got off to a good start tonight.
“And I think we can play even better. You saw what kind of defense we played early and late in the game and we need to play that type of defense an entire game.”