Liberty North guard Jake Hanson is becoming synonymous with second-half basketball, even if he can’t explain why.
By SAM McDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
Perhaps at one point it was merely a coincidence the way his shot seemed to fall more often after a halftime break, but he’s beginning to believe there’s a little more to it.
For the second straight day, Hanson found his shooting touch in the third quarter, putting together 10 points in a 2-minute span as part of Liberty North’s 47-28 win Friday against Smithville in the American Family Insurance Holiday Basketball Classic at William Jewell. The Eagles, 7-3, will meet Park Hill South in Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. championship game of the Cardinal Division.
After Liberty North took a three-point halftime lead, Hanson made two three-pointers and scored 10 consecutive points for the Eagles. Liberty North was in the midst of a 23-6 run to open the second half that helped the Eagles earn payback for a loss to Smithville only 10 days prior.
“I honestly don’t know what it is, but it just clicks in the second half,” Hanson said. “It’s not necessarily a bad thing. I mean, I’d like to hit shots in the first half, but at least I hit them in the second (half).”
Brinkley Jolly and Zach Starr paced Liberty North with 12 points, and Brock Mick scored the same number for Smithville, which fell to 5-3.
Park Hill South 49, Blue Springs 44
Park Hill South junior Hudson Welty claims he was able to stick to the typical one-game-at-a-time mantra, but that doesn’t mean he avoided thinking about a much-wanted rematch with Liberty North.
Three weeks ago, Liberty North defeated Park Hill South in the championship of the inaugural Liberty North Invitational, a game in which Park Hill South led for the first three quarters.
The Panthers haven’t dropped a game since, and now they have their rematch.
Behind Welty’s 18 points, Park Hill South improved to 8-1 and held off a pesky Blue Springs rally late in the fourth quarter.
“That’s what we came to this tournament to do — get into the finals and play (Liberty North),” Welty said. “We thought we should’ve beat them in their tournament, so that’s what we came here to do.”
Park Hill South never trailed Friday, but its largest lead over the final 6 minutes was five points.
Utilizing a small lineup, Blue Springs kept the game close with a swarming defense that forced 17 turnovers. The Wildcats, 5-4, turned those into 20 fastbreak points. Walter Sorrells led Blue Springs with 11 points.
“We found a group at the end that was doing a great job of turning defense into transition points,” Blue Springs coach Adam Jones said. “That’s what we’re trying to get our kids to believe we can do. We’re actually more happy with our effort today than we were during the win (Thursday).”
Hogan Prep 91, William Chrisman 68
Amaad Wainright returned from a one-game absence and took the reigns in a Hogan Prep offense that put up at least 19 points in every quarter.
Wainright poured in 33 points — one of four Hogan Prep players to reach double figures. Freshman Daven Hullaby had 14, and Antoine Stanley and Jonathan Hawkins each had 12.
William Chrisman got a double-double from Brett Pendergist, who finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds. William Chrisman turned the ball over 19 times.
Lincoln Prep 58, Raymore-Peculiar 44
This time, Charles Harris’ big game was enough. And more importantly, he received a little more help from his Lincoln Prep teammates.
Harris scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds, and Lincoln Prep turned a halftime tie into a comfortable win. Justin Dixson contributed 10 points and 10 rebounds while Lincoln Prep evened its record at 5-5.
Ben Harris responded with 16 points on six shots for Ray-Pec, which fell to 2-6.