After a bad third quarter wiped out a good second quarter, Blue Springs South girls basketball coach Kory Lower tried to put things into perspective.
“I said we only have to go win eight minutes now,” Lower said. “I thought we showed some toughness down the stretch.”
South got tough after its 12-point lead melted away Friday, tough enough to hold off Lee’s Summit West 59-51 in the regular-season finale for both teams in the Titans’ gym.
South (19-6, 6-4 Suburban Big Six) led conference champion Lee’s Summit West (16-7, 8-2) 30-18 at the half. The Jaguars built that lead with defense that held the Titans to one 3-pointer and four free throws in the second period.
But when Lee’s Summit West switched to a zone and full-court defense in the third quarter, the Jaguars started to wobble. South committed seven turnovers and made only two baskets in the period, which the Titans ended with an 11-0 run for a 34-34 tie.
“We expected that,” said South forward Lauren Gillig, who led the Jaguars with 21 points. “We knew they were going to change some things up and go on a run, but we knew we had to stay ourselves and stay composed.”
South kept its composure through two ties and six lead changes until Jaidynn Mason drove the lane for an and-one with 2 minutes left to put the Jaguars up for good. Gillig followed with a 3-pointer and Saneea Bevley added two free throws to complete an 8-0 run for a 54-47 lead.
Bevley made four 3-pointers and scored 16 points off the bench for South, which won its third in a row after dropping three straight. Hannah Smith also came off the bench to reach double figures with 10 points.
Lee’s Summit West was led by Tasia Johnson, who finished with a game-high 23 points.
South will open Class 5 District 14 tournament play 7 p.m. Monday against Truman at Raytown.