816 boys hoops: Missouri playoffs continue this week

03/11/2014 4:37 PM

03/11/2014 4:38 PM

After waiting 58 years for its first high school boys basketball district championship, Fort Osage has collected three straight trophies.

Finally, the Indians can turn their sights to loftier targets.

As it seeks its first trip to the Missouri Class 5 state tournament, Fort Osage will face Lee’s Summit High at 8:15 tonight in a sectional round matchup at the Independence Events Center. The winner will advance to meet the winner of Park Hill and Lee’s Summit West with a trip to the final four in Columbia on the line.

“We are extremely confident but staying hungry,” Fort Osage coach Josh Wilson said. “We have been in this position the past two years, and one of the things I stress is enjoying the moment but knowing that there is still so much more to do.

“We were one win away from Columbia last year. We hope that experience will help us on Wednesday.”

Sophomore Skylar Thompson (16.8 points per game) and Brian Starr (13.8) have keyed the Indians’ postseason run.

Lee’s Summit upended top-seeded Blue Springs South in its district championship game to reach the sectional round. The Tigers, led in scoring by junior Drew Lock, have one of the state’s most potent offenses. They have averaged 73 points per game during their three-game winning streak.

“The biggest key for us is that we have continued to improve throughout the course of the season,” Lee’s Summit coach Blake Little said. “We are a better team today than we have been at any point this year.”

CLASS 5: Park Hill (14-13) vs. Lee’s Summit West (24-3), 4:45 today, Independence Events Center

A Missouri Class 5 sectional game was supposed to serve as the tiebreaker for Lee’s Summit West and Park Hill South after the two teams split their regular season games and tied for the Suburban Red Conference championship.

Until Park Hill ruined the party.

Park Hill upset rival Park Hill South in its district championship game, and the Trojans will face Lee’s Summit West at 4:45 p.m. today at the Independence Events Center looking to continue their unlikely postseason streak.

“We really had some kids step up and make plays during districts last week,” Park Hill coach David Garrison said. “Our team feels really good right now. We have had some ups and downs, but we are excited about the opportunity to play Lee’s Summit West for a third time.”

Perhaps that can be the charm once again.

Park Hill, 14-13, lost both regular season games to Park Hill South before last Saturday’s win. The Trojans also fell twice to Lee’s Summit West this season.

Lee’s Summit West is one of the remaining favorites in Class 5 with wins over some of the state’s top teams in Columbia Hickman and Columbia Rock Bridge. The Titans, 24-3, are an athletic team that can score from a variety of positions on the floor. Monte Harrison and Jarred Dixon have proven to be touch matchups for opposing teams.

“Offensively, they can beat you both on the perimeter and in the paint,” Garrison said. “Defensively, they have the speed and the strength to really take you out of your comfort zone. The key for us will be our ability to handle their pressure and take care of the ball.”

CLASS 4: Harrisonville (17-10) vs. Grandview (22-5), 7:45 tonight at Blue Springs South

Few teams in Missouri Class 4 are playing better basketball at this time than Grandview. Winners of 12 straight, the Bulldogs have topped 80 points in five of their last seven games.

Point guard Tyrone Taylor has taken his game to another level. He scored 47 points in a district semifinal win against Raytown South.

“Our team is hitting its stride because of the roles of eight significant players,” Grandview coach Randy Farris said. “We are all playing well at the same time.”

Harrisonville, meanwhile, is as healthy as it has been all season with the return of sharp-shooting Luke Cooper.

“Our guys have really come together, and I felt like we defended very well in our two district games,” Harrisonville coach Todd Mercer said.

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