Jaguars maintain hold on Winnetonka title

By Cody Thorn
The Examiner
Blue Springs South senior Rebekah Hardin (24) and the Jaguars hoist the championship trophy after defeating North Kansas City 53-37 Friday to claim their second straight Winnetonka Tournament title Friday.

Slowing down Ja’mya Powell-Smith, even for a quarter, was enough of a boost for Blue Springs South to remain champions of the Winnetonka Tournament.

The Jaguars held the standout guard for North Kansas City to only one basket in the second quarter and that was when South pulled away en route to a 53-37 victory Friday.

Blue Springs South (3-0) built a 15-9 lead over the Hornets in the rematch of last year’s tournament title game, but the turning point came in the second. The Jaguars limited North Kansas City (2-1) to only two baskets in the quarter and only one by Powell-Smith, who torched Truman for 32 in the division final on Thursday.

The Jaguars got 12 of the 14 points in the second quarter from complementary scorers Hannah Smith and Kendall Puryear. Smith had four of her 10 points, while Puryear, a freshman, added eight of her 11 points.

“We worked well as a team, like last year, and we were ready to fight,” said Smith, who made a basket, two 3-pointers and two free throws in the win. “We just had to understand they can’t come at us, we have to go at them. It got close for a little bit, but as a team we pushed all the way through.”

Blue Springs South's Kendall Puryear, left, draws a foul from North Kansas City's Kennady Washington (3) as she goes up for a shot in the championship game of the Winnetonka Tournament Friday. Puryear and the Jaguars claimed a second straight title in the tourney with a 53-37 win..

Powell-Smith, a Grand Canyon University signee, scored seven of the Hornets’ nine points in the first quarter and was held to a basket in the second as the Jaguars took a 29-13 lead at the break.

“We had a good opponent but our team worked hard,” said Puryear, whose older brother Kevin was a standout at South and later Missouri. “We went into the locker room and said we need to keep up the pace.”

The Jaguars were scoreless for the first 2 ½ minutes of the third, but Jaidynn Mason scored on a pair of fast-break layups and Smith hit the first of her two 3-pointers in a 7-3 run that pushed the lead to 20 points.

Blue Springs South guard Saneea Bevley (23) brings the ball down court against North Kansas City in the championship of the Winnetonka Tournament Friday. The Jaguars claimed the tournament title for the second straight year with a 53-37 win.

The Hornets outscored Blue Springs South in the third quarter but that was Powell-Smith, who tallied all 12 points. Despite that effort, South held a 40-25 lead going into the final period.

“This whole week we had seven- or nine-point spurts and then we allowed that many in the last two games,” Blue Springs South coach Kory Lower said. “It felt like a one- or two-possession game several times because we know what Ja’mya is capable of. Playing (Kennedy) Townsend from Park Hill and then playing Ja’mya is difficult but good for our girls.”

Blue Springs South guard Jaidynn Mason (2) splits the North Kansas City defense for a layup in Friday's championship game in the Winnetonka Tournament. Mason scored a team-high 19 points to lead the Jaguars to a 53-37 win.

Mason led the Jaguars with 19 points and was one of two Jaguars on the all-tournament team. The other was guard Saneea Bevley. Powell-Smith had 25 of the Hornets’ 37 and was another all-tournament pick. 

“We will enjoy it tonight and get ready for next week,” said Lower, whose team will play Olathe East, Olathe South and Blue Valley North next week. “It is really cool and special but it is just another game. It is not districts or conference, but I am proud of how we fought. We played some good teams. I don’t want to discredit the fact it is fun to win a championship, but hopefully they are learning what they are capable of.”

PARK HILL 60, TRUMAN 38: The Trojans are where Truman may be in a few years. A roster full of veteran starters, Park Hill had four players score in double figures, led by 23 points by Kennedy Townsend to beat the Patriots in the third-place game on Friday.

Townsend, a three-year starter and a Creighton pledge, scored 15 of her 23 points in the second half as the Trojans took a nine-point lead at the start and doubled it.

Senior Anisha Vondenkamp had 11, while Jordan Austin and Amaya Blake each had 10. That trio were also starters for two or three years for the Trojans.

Truman, which featured a starting five of sophomores and freshmen, was led in scoring by freshman Layla Scott’s 13 points. In the third quarter, she and older sister, Taliyah, a sophomore, scored all 10 points for the Patriots (1-2). Both of the sisters, who combined for 20 points, were named to the all-tournament team.

LEE’S SUMMIT NORTH 49, WINNETONKA 14: The Broncos scored at least 10 points in each quarter and beat the host Griffins in a consolation game on Friday night in the auxiliary gym.

Sophomore guard Elauni Bennett had a double-double for the Broncos, scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.

She had eight points to help the Broncos take a 13-4 lead and added six of the team’s 11 in the fourth to close out the blowout win. Bennett was named to the all-tournament team.

Two other players scored in double figures for Lee’s Summit North. Halle Fee had 11, while Lauren Draney added 10.