The most important minute of a Missouri Class 5 sectional game between Rockhurst and Blue Springs South came with the game clock stopped and both teams’ starters sitting on the bench.
By SAM McDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
Rockhurst’s double-digit lead — which lasted much of the third quarter — began to slowly trickle away in the fourth. When South big man Kevin Puryear buried a midrange fadeaway, the advantage was just three points.
With more than three minutes still remaining, a large crowd inside the Independence Events Center reached its loudest point of the game. Puryear erupted and urged his teammates to follow suit.
Timeout, Rockhurst. A key sixty seconds ensued.
“Any other team might have been worried,” Rockhurst senior Kyle Wolf said. “But we sat there on the bench and we told each we were going to win this game. I think that’s what pulled us through.”
Time(out) well spent.
Wolf drew a foul and made a pair of free throws on the first possession out of the 60-second timeout, helping Rockhurst regain the momentum on its way to a 72-67 victory Wednesday. The Hawklets move on to the Class 5 quarterfinals Saturday, when they will face Fort Osage with a trip to the state tournament on the line.
Wolf scored a team-best 20 points, with fellow senior Connor Kuhlmann adding 15 more.
The Hawklets, 22-5, trailed only once — 8-3 in the first quarter — but they responded with two three-pointers during a 14-0 run and never trailed again.
Rockhurst evened the season series with South — with each team winning twice — but the Hawklets won the one that counted.
Carl Martin led South, 24-3, with 14 points. Puryear finished with 13.
Fort Osage 53, St. Joseph Central 34
Fort Osage senior Austin Regier checked his feet moments before he reached the three-point line, but he had no intentions of stopping there for a shot.
He was simply timing his jump. Two long strides later, Regier went up for an emphatic one-handed dunk, closing out the first half and giving Fort Osage its first lead of the game.
The Indians, 22-4, came storming out of the locker room after halftime, outscoring St. Joseph Central 34-16 over the final two quarters and reaching the Class 5 quarterfinals for the first time in school history.
“Austin released us,” Fort Osage coach Josh Wilson said. “We were playing timid. The kids were scared to screw up. When he made that play, it pumped everybody up. We were more aggressive from that point.”
After halftime, senior D’Vante Mosby took over the grunt work against a physical St. Joseph Central team. Mosby finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds.