There’s a lesson most parents teach their kids and most coaches teach their players.
By SAM McDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
Wait your turn.
That lesson is a myth on the Lee’s Summit West boys basketball team. A trio of highly-talented, impatient sophomores is ready for the moment now.
The Titans got only four points from their senior class on Friday night, but they managed to defeat Columbia Hickman 67-65 to win the 38th annual Culver’s Classic at Lee’s Summit High School.
With senior point guard Kyndall Powell out because of a broken wrist, that left Trevor Gregory as the team’s lone senior starter.
No worries. Sophomores Ryan Williams, Gary Davis and Jarred Dixon combined for 33 points — including 21 after halftime — to seal the Titans’ second tournament win this season.
“It’s crazy because we’re such a young team — three sophomores starting,” Dixon said. “And yet here we are in our second championship game. It’s a lot of pressure, but we stepped it up.”
With the inexperience in his eight-player rotation, Lee’s Summit West coach Michael Schieber is using game minutes as teaching moments.
Figuring out a way to win, though, is a lesson this group doesn’t need to be taught.
The Titans, 12-2, found themselves locked in a mistake-free, highly-competitive basketball game with Hickman from the opening tip. A basket-for-basket matchup seemed destined to be decided in the final minutes.
And it was.
Williams provided the clutch play in the fourth quarter, driving to the basket for a three-point play to give the Titans’ a five-point lead with fewer than 2 minutes remaining. A few free throws later, and Lee’s Summit West turned in one of its top performances of a decorated season.
“That was a heck of a basketball game,” Schieber said. “We were able to make one more play and win. There were no losers on the floor. A lot of heart and a lot of guts out there. Everybody left it out there.”
Lee’s Summit West built a 10-point lead in the third quarter after holding a 30-29 halftime edge.
Hickman, however, responded. The Kewpies scored the next seven points — including five on one possession following Dale Brown’s flagrant foul.
Hickman later grabbed a one-point lead on Jimmy Whitt’s three-pointer. Whitt led the comeback attempt by scoring all 19 of his points after halftime. Cecil Williams added 15.
Dixon led the Titans with 16 points, while Williams scored 12.
Monte Harrison helped stake Lee’s Summit West to an early lead, scoring 11 of his 15 before the break.
Seven players scored for Lee’s Summit West. The Titans needed every one of them.
“We had some other guys step up and make plays tonight,” Schieber said. “We’ve had different guys produce in different games. But I thought tonight was just a tremendous, tremendous effort. That’s a really good basketball team.”