Shorthanded Jaguars stave off Broncos
Blue Springs South officially has its second winning streak of the season going and did so without standout Devin Tomlinson.
Playing without the injured senior, the Jaguars used a balanced attack to pick up a 57-51 Suburban Big Eight Conference victory over host Lee’s Summit North Wednesday.
The Jaguars have now won three in a row and six of the past eight heading into Friday’s home game against rival Blue Springs.
Sporadically made free throws down the stretch helped the Jaguars keep the distance and the Broncos winless this season.
“Those are the teams you have to worry about because they are looking for that first win,” Blue Springs South’s Ty Mauck said. “I know they are hustling trying to get that win.”
The Broncos and Jaguars were locked into a competitive game throughout, with the visitors leading by two at halftime (26-24) and after three quarters (36-34).
Blue Springs South (11-8, 8-3) used a 14-3 run to seize control early in the fourth quarter.
The run started with a 3-pointer by 6-foot-7 senior Wesley Schneider, his only points of the game. Dallas Whitney followed with a 3-point play and then the junior forward threw down a two-handed slam dunk.
Tre Baker’s 3-pointer temporarily stopped the run and helped Lee’s Summit North (0-14, 0-11) pull within five, but Whitney scored back-to-back baskets to make it a 10-point game.
Sonny McCreary hit 1 of 2 free throws with 4:03 left to play to make it 50-39, the largest lead of the game up to that point.
The Broncos kept pushing and pulled within five points following a pair of free throws from Simon Murray with 1:28 to play. Clinging to the 56-51 lead, the Jaguars went 1-for-4 from the free-throw line in the final minute.
“In this conference a road win is tough to come by, I don’t care who the opponent is or what the circumstances,” Blue Springs South coach Josh Smith said. “We will take the victory, but there are some things we need to clean up – most importantly free-throw shooting. I can’t quite figure it out. We had been really good up until the last three games and all of the sudden it's a colossal struggle. We will have to figure it out with the competition we are facing moving forward."
The Jaguars shot only 50 percent from the line in the game – 14 of 28 – but were a mere 7 of 17 in the final eight minutes.
Blue Springs South relied heavily on Whitney and Mauck in the victory as the two combined for 41 of the team’s 57 points. Whitney scored 27 points, including 18 in the second half. Mauck finished with 14 but did most of his damage in the first two quarters. He scored 11 in the first half but left midway through the second quarter after a 3-pointer from the corner.
He sat out the remainder of the second quarter and was held scoreless in minimal minutes in the third. Mauck went 3 of 4 from the free-throw line in the fourth.
The effort was needed for a team playing without Tomlinson, the team’s usual go-to scorer and a vocal team leader.
“He brings a lot of energy to the team, but we are a team and we don’t need one person or we don’t bank on one person doing it all,” Mauck said. “We dispersed that energy throughout the whole team. We’ve had a lot of injuries this year and it has been hard, but we pick each other up. It was definitely a learning experience.”
Whitney and McCreary helped fire up the offense in the first quarter for Blue Springs South but Lee’s Summit North went on a 9-0 run and took the lead early in the second quarter on Mac Anderson’s 3-pointer.
Mauck’s 3-pointer broke a 19-19 tie – on a pass from Schneider, who grabbed an offensive rebound and kicked out to the corner – with 3:34 left in the first half. South never trailed again.
“We’ve got guys that are capable of making plays and knocking down shots but they usually play a complementary role, but they are certainly capable of stepping up and doing more when we need them – guys like Ty Mauck,” Smith said. “When we are down a guy it is unfortunate, but at the same time it is an opportunity for more minutes and expanded roles. We are confident in them doing that and we are fortunate we got contributions.”
North, which is scheduled to travel to rival Lee’s Summit West on Friday, got 18 points from Jeremy Moore and 15 from Armstrong.