Blue Springs South isn’t playing just to keep its season going. The Jaguars are playing with a vengeance.
With lights-out shooting and at times clamp-down defense, Blue Springs South rolled past Rockhurst 72-59 Tuesday and advanced to the semifinals of the Class 5 District 14 tournament at Raytown High School. South (15-10) avenged two one-point losses to the Hawklets this season and will next face top seed Raytown, which also owns a close victory over the Jaguars.
“It’s almost like a revenge tour,” South junior forward Devin Tomlinson said. “We lost to (Rockhurst) twice and we lost to Raytown in a close game, so we’ll be ready to go.”
The 6-foot-5 Tomlinson played a big role in administering that revenge. He led the Jaguars with 23 points that came from 3-point range and underneath the basket. Tomlinson hit two 3-pointers in going 9 of 11 from the field.
And for the second time in as many games, Tomlinson wasn’t alone. Khayden Hooks popped in 18 points while Johnny George sank four of the Jaguars’ seven 3-pointers for 16.
“We can’t count on that every night,” Blue Springs South coach Josh Smith said. “I’m sure we shot a very good percentage tonight, but there were stretches of this game where we played very well defensively. And that’s something that you have control over.”
But it was the offense that set the tone early. South shot 9 of 14 from the field in the first quarter and never trailed after taking a 23-16 lead. In the second quarter, the defense fueled a 9-0 Jaguars run three fast-break baskets by Tomlinson for a 37-23 lead.
But Rockhurst (13-12) can shoot too, especially from outside the arc. The Hawklets made four of their 11 3-pointers early in the third quarter and cut the Jaguars’ lead to 42-41.
“We knew they had a lot of scorers,” Tomlinson said. “We were really familiar with them. We lost to them two times and it was like that every single time – shot after shot.
Not this time. Not after a back court steal by Dallas Whitney set up a Hooks layup. Another transition scoop from Hooks put the Jaguars up 46-41.
South gradually pulled away in the fourth quarter, upping its lead to double digits midway through the period.
John Gyllenborg scored 18 points to lead Rockhurst. Benjamin Walsh with 15 points on five 3-pointers.
South will play Raytown at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals.