Olathe East used a 12-0 run at the start of the third quarter to turn a close game into a rout as the Hawks beat Bishop Miege 57-30 Thursday afternoon in a quarterfinal game of the 22nd Annual Saints Boys Basketball Classic at St. Thomas Aquinas.
By CHARLES REDFIELD
Special to The Star
At halftime, the Hawks were clinging to a 24-20 advantage.
“Our defense wasn’t too bad, but we were not very patient on offense,” said coach Jim Super, who’s in his 21st year at Olathe East. “We were impatient on offense. When we slow down and use a little patience on offense, we are a better team.”
It was a trio of seniors who spearheaded the 12-0 run.
Caelan Neal, a 6-foot-1 guard, had four points in the run.
“We played with a lot more intensity,” said Neal, who had a dunk off a steal in the first half.
Ezra Talbert, a 6-foot-7 forward/center, had five points in the run.
“Our intensity, especially on defense, was better in the second half,” said Talbert, who has signed to play next year at Liberty University in Virginia. “We played better man defense.”
The final three points in the run came on a three-point shot by senior Brady Kaemmer.
The only points in the quarter for the Stags came on a free throw by senior McKinley Johnson with 4:02 left. The Hawks led 42-21 entering the final period.
Miege didn’t get its first field goal of the second half until junior Reggie Byers hit a three-pointer with 6:33 left in the game. The Stags scored 10 only points after intermission.
Ezra Talbert was the leading scorer in the game with a season-high 21 points. He had three three-pointers.
What is the range on his three-point shot?
“About five feet behind the three-point line,” he noted with a smile.
Neal was also in double figures with 14 points. Senior Mark Birch came off the bench to score seven points in the fourth quarter.
Byers was the leading scorer for the Stags with 12 points. Freshman Semaj Ray and junior Sagin Churchman had four points.
The Stags fell to 3-6 with the loss.
The Hawks are 9-1 with their only loss coming to Barstow early in the season.
Olathe East meets Grandview (10-3) in the semifinals tonight at 6:30 p.m.
Grandview beat St. James Academy 63-49 in the first quarterfinal game of the tournament.
The Bulldogs have good size and quickness.
“We will have to defend well and execute with patience on offense,” Super said.
Neal added: “We have to stop their offensive penetration and rebound the ball.”
And Talbert said: “We have to slow them down and not let them have good looks (at the basket).”