Rockhurst knocked down three three-pointers in the first 90 seconds of the third quarter, and that was after taking a 16-point halftime lead against Fort Osage.
By DAVID BOYCE
Special to The Star
The solid first half, coupled with a blistering start in the third quarter, propelled Rockhurst to an 81-55 victory in the Missouri Class 5 quarterfinals Saturday at the Independence Events Center.
Rockhurst, 24-5, advanced to the Missouri Class 5 state tournament at Mizzou Arena.
“Oh my gosh, this is awesome,” said Rockhurst senior Kyle Wolf, who finished with a game-high 31 points. “We have been talking about this all year. This was my goal and we finally got it.”
Wolf started on fire, scoring nine points in the first quarter and helping Rockhurst to a 19-12 lead.
“During warm-ups, I tried to get in a rhythm early,” Wolf said. “My shot was feeling good. I had a feeling I was going to shoot pretty well.”
The Hawklets’ offense continued to roll in the second quarter, and they went into halftime ahead 37-21.
Rockhurst was determined not to coast to Columbia. The three quick three-pointers by the Hawklets pushed their lead to 49-27. Wolf made two of the three-pointers and added another less than a minute later for a 52-29 advantage.
“When we came into the locker room, we were frustrated with our last possession because they got a layup and had all the momentum,” Wolf said. “We came into the locker room and said we will have to start fast and keep it up. We didn’t want this game to get close.”
Fort Osage kept battling and showed why it won 23 of 28 games this season. The Indians just happened to face a Rockhurst team that was relentless on offense.
“Fort is not going to quit,” Rockhurst coach Mark Nusbaum said. “We saw that the other night. “The (D’vante) Mosby kid is not going to let them quit. D’vante is awesome. I love how he plays.”
The guard play of Connor Kuhlmann and Bradley Wilkins pushed the tempo for Rockhurst. Thomas Keller crashed the boards and Wolf did everything else.
“Everyone played excellent,” Wolf said. “We knew what they kind of did, and we knew what we were going to do. We executed really well. Everybody did their jobs.”
Blue Springs 49, Kearney girls 37
Blue Springs girls basketball team is making its fifth straight trip to the state semifinals.
The Wildcats knocked out Kearney 49-37 in another Class 5 quarterfinal.
Blue Springs was powered by a three-player attack. Seniors Elizabeth Wendell and Karyla Middlebrook and sophomore Aliyah Lee combined to score 47 of Blue Springs’ 49 points.
“It is really exciting, especially being my senior year, me and my three best friends going together,” said Wendell, who finished with 17 points.
Middlebrook scored all seven of the Wildcats’ points in the first quarter, but still Blue Springs trailed 9-7.
Lee came off the bench and provided a spark in the second quarter, knocking down two three-pointers and adding another basket.
Wendell got hot late in the second quarter and was part of Blue Springs’ 13-2 run that ended the second quarter, giving the Wildcats a 25-17 halftime lead.
“We just passed the ball around and took the open shots that we got,” Wendell said. “We took them in rhythm.”
Blue Springs never trailed the rest of the way. Kearney made one nice push, closing to 31-30 on a three-pointer by Jessi Hartzler.
But Middlebrook answered with a three-pointer of her own, and Kearney never got closer than four from that point on.
It was the 21st straight victory for the Wildcats, 28-2. Kearney saw its 24-game winning streak end. The Bulldogs finished 25-3.