Few basketball teams in the Kansas City area stand as tall in the frontcourt as Lee’s Summit West. But if the Titans aren’t careful, foul trouble can make them mighty small mighty fast.
It’s a point West coach Michael Schieber drove home after the Titans escaped with a 57-52 victory against Blue Valley Northwest on Dec. 16 during the Cable Dahmer Shootout at Avila University in Kansas City, Mo.
The defending Kansas Class 6A state champion Huskies are also a big team, and Schieber believes his Titans could do a better job of not getting whistled when confronting that kind of size.
“We’ve got to be smarter in situations in the game,” he said. “We talked our guys when they got three (fouls), don’t put yourself in situations where you get those silly next ones. I thought Yor’s fifth was a bit silly.”
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That would be Yor Anei, West’s 6-foot-11 senior forward.
Anei, a transfer from Shawnee Mission South who signed with Oklahoma State, picked up his fifth foul going over the back of BV Northwest’s 6-6 forward Joe Pleasant early in the fourth quarter.
Two more Titans — Christian Bishop, West’s 6-8 forward who signed with Creighton, and Malachi Butler, a 6-5 reserve — picked up their third fouls during the third quarter.
But with guards Mario Goodrich, Phillip Brooks and Rich Johnson running the floor and making free throws, the Titans wouldn’t come up short.
“Our guards were phenomenal tonight,” Schieber said. “ Rich and Phil and Mario were just unbelievable. They made free throws down the stretch, made the right play. ... I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
West led by as many as 16 points during the first half, but that lead dwindled to 40-36 going into the fourth quarter.
Pleasant, who scored a game-high 22 points with 13 rebounds, converted an and-one that pulled BV Northwest within 52-50 with 2:25 remaining.
Goodrich, who was 6 for 9 from the line in the fourth quarter, hit a free throw to make it 53-50.
The Huskies missed three shots on their next possession before the Titans’ guards were able to run off nearly a minute until getting fouled.
“I felt like as guards we had to pick up our team,” Goodrich said. “We’re the floor generals, so we had to get it going.”
Tough time for Broncos
Lee’s Summit North had to face Bishop Miege without Javaunte Hawkins, its leading scorer and top outside shooting threat.
Against a big team like the Stags, the Broncos could have used a little more outside scoring.
Miege’s zone defense closed off North inside during a 76-51 victory Dec. 15 during the Cable Dahmer Shootout.
The Broncos, who lost Hawkins to a wrist injury last week, managed to stay close early by working the ball inside to 6-8 forward Elijah Farr.
The Stags’ lead was 23-20 before switching to a 2-3 zone designed to thwart Farr.
It quickly helped fuel a 14-4 run that put Miege up 37-24 by halftime.
“The objective was to take the big guy out,” Stags coach Rick Zych said. “We had trouble covering him. He’s a good player. We could stretch our zone out and guard the three and take him out of it. I thought it was probably the difference.”
Miege stuck with the zone most of the second half and pushed its lead to 54-36 after three quarters then led by as many as 30 points late in the game.
Logan Jenkins scored 15 points to lead North, while Farr and Tommy Erwin finished with 14 apiece.