The St. Thomas Aquinas boys and girls basketball teams had the honor Jan. 6 of hosting the first 810 Varsity Showcase of the season.
Unfortunately for the Saints, neither team could make use of their home-court advantage.
During the season’s inaugural Showcase, an eight-game event featuring some of the top high-school basketball teams in Kansas and Missouri, Aquinas’ girls lost a 39-36 overtime thriller versus Liberty and the boys dropped a 66-61 decision against Topeka Hayden.
Hayden brought the highest-profile player to the event in Zach Harvey, a 6-foot-4 combo guard ranked 38th overall in the class of 2019 by Rivals.
Harvey, who is being recruited by the University of Kansas and has more than a dozen NCAA Division I offers, scored 16 points against the Saints, who trailed 55-35 after three quarters.
Aquinas made it interesting by hitting three three-pointers and outscoring Hayden 26-11 in the fourth quarter led by Joe Rost, who drilled four three-pointers and finished with a team-high 16 points.
It also was a tough night for the defending Class 6A champion, Blue Valley Northwest, which dropped a 56-52 decision against Park Hill South.
The Huskies led 26-11 early and still enjoyed a double-digit lead in the third quarter before the Panthers rallied.
Blue Valley North couldn’t rally against Liberty during the fourth quarter and lost a back-and-forth contest 58-49. The two teams entered the fourth period tied 46-46 and neither scored in the first three minutes of the period until the Blue Jays pulled away.
The Mustangs, led by Miles Emery with 16 points, managed only one basket in the final period.
In other girls basketball action, BV North opened the day with a 64-44 victory versus Notre Dame de Sion, while Olathe South’s girls beat St. James Academy 51-42.
The St. James Thunder’s boys lost to Hogan Prep 65-49 and, finally, Basehor-Linwood’s boys topped Liberty North 50-42 during another early game.
The second 810 Varsity Showcase of the season will take place Saturday at Lee’s Summit High School.
Blue Valley’s boys and girls and BV Northwest’s boys are included in the six-game slate.