Blue Springs South sent out a starting lineup on Saturday that featured four guards and only one big man.
By SAM McDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
Problem? Not when that one post player is 6-foot-7 Kevin Puryear.
A smooth, efficient sophomore forward, Puryear handled enough work inside to open up an effective perimeter game in the Jaguars’ 75-57 victory against Rockhurst in the championship game of the McDonald’s Tournament at Blue Springs South.
The Jaguars won the tournament — which was held at Blue Springs South and at Blue Springs — for the first time since 2002 and stayed perfect at 4-0 in the process.
“My teammates do a good job of getting me the ball and just letting me go to work,” Puryear said. “That gives us open shots, and then we feed off each other from there.”
That’s precisely the way it played out against the Hawklets, who lost for the first time this season in four games.
Puryear scored a game-high 21 points and dominated the paint inside.
Rockhurst used half-court traps to try and limit Puryear’s effectiveness in the second half, but that allowed Blue Springs South’s four-guard lineup to get some good looks from the perimeter. The Jaguars nailed eight three-pointers in the game — including two from the big man himself.
Justin Pitts also made a three as part of a 17-point night for the Jaguars. He was named the tournament’s MVP.
“We did a really good job of attacking their press after the first couple of minutes,” South coach Jimmy Cain said. “They run at you and make you make a quick decision. We were a little shaky early in the game, but we did a much better job of attacking it and getting to the basket."
After a slow first quarter, South scored at least 20 points in each of the final three quarters.
South senior guards Andrew Wright (13 points) and Carl Martin (12) were also in double figures.
Facing a double-digit deficit for the entire second half, Rockhurst featured 6-5 forward Kyle Wolf as the focal point of its offense. He responded with 20 points.
Blue Springs girls 63, Columbia Hickman 50
So much for rebuilding. How about reloading?
Thought to be in for a down year following four straight trips to the Class 5 state finals — or so they were told anyway — the Blue Springs girls have hardly missed a beat.
The Wildcats pushed past Columbia Hickman to win the girls McDonald’s Tournament at Blue Springs South.
Three seniors — Lizzy Wendell, Karyla Middlebrook and Tyra Bickham — combined for 48 of the Wildcats’ 63 points and are quickly providing optimism that the team has no plans to take a step back in 2012-13.
“We don’t think of it like that,” Middlebrook said. “We lost of lot of talent, but we just look at it like we have to work a little harder this year.”
It’s early, of course, but that’s just the thing — an assumed learning curve has yet to present itself.
Blue Springs has won five of its first six games and reached the championship in both of its early-season tournaments.
The Wildcats never trailed Saturday, though the game remained close until Blue Springs earned the majority of its trips to the free-throw line in the fourth quarter. Blue Springs used an 8-2 run — with all eight points coming from the line — to extend a six-point advantage to 13. The Wildcats made 22 of their 27 attempts at the line.
Wendell led all scorers with 20, and Middlebrook added 17.
Moriah Panuco came off the bench and buried three three-point shots for nine points.
Kendahl Adams led Columbia Hickman with 13 points.