Even after a less-than-auspicious season opener, Lee’s Summit North boys basketball coach Mike Hilbert could still find one positive takeaway: Evidence.
“You can only convince high school guys so much in a practice situation that they need to work harder or be more focused,” Hilbert said after Rockhurst swamped the Broncos 71-51 on Tuesday night at North. “Sometimes, it takes a little game footage to encourage them.”
It won’t be a pleasant video session when Hilbert and the Broncos rehash this one.
They’ll see themselves helpless to stop Rockhurst from going aggressively to the rim for numerous transition baskets.
They’ll see the Hawklets use their size to double-and triple-team down low on defense, while the Broncos struggled to sink outside shots.
And they’ll see themselves never recover after digging a 15-point hole midway through the first quarter.
“Rockhurst is a great team,” North senior guard Logan Jenkins said. “They played great defense and we couldn’t get much going on offense. We’re going to definitely work on that in practice to be better in the future.”
Hilbert will certainly have the Broncos working on their transition defense, especially when confronting teams with quick guards and big bodies underneath like Rockhurst. The Hawklets raced down court for their first three baskets, and a putback by 6-foot-6 forward Dalen Ridgnal accounted for another.
Jenkins put North on the board with a layup, but the Hawklets followed with a 9-0 run for 17-2 lead with just under three minutes left in the first quarter. Jenkins’ bucket was the only score North managed during a 1-for-7 opening stretch from the field.
“Offensively we were pretty stagnant,” Hilbert said. “We didn’t move the ball very well, kind of played a lot of one-and-one and didn’t get great shots, and, as a result, we didn’t shoot it very well. But a lot of that was because Rockhurst guarded us, and we weren’t patient enough to find better shots.”
North wound up shooting 41 percent from the field for the game and made 6 of 20 three-pointers. Most of those shots fell in the second half, but the game was well out of reach by then.
That’s because in the second quarter, North made only 1 of 13 shots, a three-pointer by Jack Gatti off the bench that pulled North back within eight points a minute into the period.
Rockhurst outscored North 15-3 the rest of the period, including a 9-0 run to end the half highlighted by a Ridgnal slam off a no-look pass from Xavier Rhodes. Rockhurst led 39-19 by halftime and by as many as 27 points in the third quarter.
Rhodes, who finished with 10 points, was one of five Rockhurst players to score in double figures. Jake Thompson and Darrius Hughes led the Hawklets with 12 points apiece.
“I attribute what happened tonight to Rockhurst,” Hilbert said. “They were ready to go; they played really well, both offensively and defensively; they made it difficult for us to score; they were really aggressive going to the basket. Rockhurst was very good tonight, and we weren’t very good. And that’s how you get a lopsided loss.”
Jenkins led the Broncos with 12 points. Javaunte Hawkins, who missed all five first-half three-point tries, sank two threes in the second for 10 points. Elijah Farr also had 10 points, all of them in the second half.
North will take part Saturday in the 810 Varsity Tipoff Classic at Liberty High School. The Broncos play St. Joseph Central at 1 p.m. to open the five-game slate. Lee’s Summit will follow with its season-opener against Shawnee Mission North at 2:30 p.m.
Before then, the Broncos had some film to watch.
“We’ll just move on, head to practice, and get back at it,” Hilbert said.