Jaguars rally from big early deficit to clip Bears
For one quarter, it looked like visiting William Chrisman was going to have its way with coach Kory Lower's Blue Springs South Jaguars.
The Bears roared out to a 10-0 lead as Mele Taula converted a conventional three-point play, and Jacque David followed with a 3-point bomb from long range at the 5:37 mark.
But Lower's Jaguars never showed any sign of panic or despair, rallying for a 49-35 non-conference girls basketball victory.
"Coach called a timeout," said junior guard Saneea Bevley, "and he told us to keep an up-tempo pace, to get going offensively and to keep taking our shots, even though they weren't falling early in the game."
The Jaguars listened and it paid off. Bevley hit two 3-point baskets to cut the deficit to 18-16, and Hannah Smith added a 3-point basket to help South crawl back into the game and take a 23-19 lead into the halftime locker room.
Chrisman came out strong in the third period and took a 26-23 lead, but Smith drained back-to-back 3-pointers that gave South a 26-25 lead it never relinquished with 3:33 left in the quarter.
"I was feeling it tonight," said Smith, who tied Bevley for game-high scoring honors with 14 points. "I think everyone was feeling it, especially in the second half. When they went to a zone (defense), Coach told us that we needed to start hitting from the outside. And we did, and we won."
The Jaguars (6-4) finished the night with seven 3-pointers and praise from Lower for their calm and collected reaction to the Bears' hot start.
"You could see our girls gain confidence as the game went on," Lower said. "Our girls really don't show a lot of emotion out there. Saneea is just right there (holding his hand on a steady line in front of his body) and never gets too high or too low. And that's good for a guard.
"Hannah shows some emotion, and I like to see emotion from our girls. But I also like the approach Saneea and the girls take to the game. This was a big win because we opened with five wins and have lost our last four, so hopefully this will be the start of another winning streak."
Chrisman coach Scott Schaefer believes his team will rebound from the disappointing loss.
"We started off so strong in the first quarter, then just ran out of gas," Schaefer said after his Bears fell to 5-4. "South has some quality players and a good young coach and they never panicked tonight. Even when they were down, they just went about their business and then their shots started to fall, and they took command of the game."
Taula and David led the Bears with nine points each.