Sophomore D.J. Booker scored a team-high 20 points to lead Blue Springs South to a 74-72 overtime victory over Lee’s Summit in the Class 5 District 14 semifinals Wednesday night at Blue Springs South High School.
The kid made sure his senior Blue Springs South basketball teammates lived to play another day.
Sophomore D.J. Booker scored a team-high 20 points to lead the Jaguars to a 74-72 overtime victory over Lee’s Summit in the Class 5 District 14 semifinals Wednesday night at Blue Springs South High School.
Seniors Riley King and Brandon Murillo each scored 15 points and junior Shawn Meyer did his work in the paint, adding 13 hard-fought points, as South advanced to meet Lee’s Summit North in the 7 p.m. championship game Friday night at South.
“This was a total team effort,” said Booker, who hit all six free throws in the overtime period. “We knew what was at stake. We didn’t want to the season to end for the seniors – but the underclassmen wanted to keep playing, too.”
The Jaguars were able to get the game into overtime when they held the hot-shooting Tigers to just seven points in the fourth quarter. That came after Lee’s Summit put 22 points on the scoreboard in the third quarter and took a 52-46 lead into the final period.
South scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter as Booker hit two jumpers, Murillo added a 3-pointer and Meyer connected on two free throws.
“Lee’s Summit had all the energy and all the momentum in the third quarter, then it just flipped in the fourth quarter,” South coach Jimmy Cain said after his team improved to 12-14.
“After that (22-point) third quarter, we talked about D’ing it up and getting after them – and the guys did. D.J. had a great night – Brandon and Riley played like seniors who didn’t want their careers to end – and Shawn battled their huge center No. 50 (Nathan Schumacher, who is listed at 6-foot-4, but by Cain’s account, he stands closer to 6-7) all night long and got some huge rebounds.”
King hit three 3-pointers and totaled 11 points in the first quarter as South led 21-16. The Jaguars took a slim 32-30 lead into halftime but trailed 52-46 going into the final eight minutes of regulation.
“Coach kept talking about staying together, and playing as a team,” King said. “That’s what we did. If we didn’t play as a team, we don’t play Friday night.”
South missed seven of its first 12 free throws in overtime but hit its last eight – with Booker and Murillo hitting four apiece.
“We have to work on a few things, and Coach Cain will have us ready to go Friday, I guarantee that,” said Murillo, who had two key rebounds and a perfect no-look pass in one of the biggest wins of his career. “All the hard work this season, all the sprints, all the extra free throws – it all paid off for us tonight.”
Sean Green, who hit a long 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the game, finished with a game-high 28 points for the Tigers, who finished 16-9.
LEE’S SUMMIT NORTH 44, LEE’S SUMMIT WEST 39: The Broncos got off to a 12-1 lead and held off a late Titan rally to earn a spot in Friday’s championship game.
“We got the big lead early and managed to hold on,” North coach Mike Hilbert said. “What I was really proud of tonight is that after we got the lead, we never gave it up. West made it close, but the kids held on for a big win.”
B.J. Dunbar led the Broncos (18-7) with 16 points and Chase Salazar added 11.
Banks Born scored 15 points and Melvin Turner had 12 to lead West, which finished the season at 12-14.
“We’ve played South twice this year and we’ve come away with two wins, but this is district and anything can happen,” Hilbert said. “Our kids know that, and it’s our job to get them ready to play Friday night.”