It’s been a while since a Lee’s Summit team failed to reach the final of the Culver’s Classic — nine years, as a matter of fact.
That streak will come to an end this year.
Lee’s Summit and Lee’s Summit North, the two city teams in the 43rd edition of the annual boys’ basketball tournament, both lost during Monday night’s first-round games at Lee’s Summit’s Field House.
And they lost in strikingly different fashions.
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The Broncos fought back from a double-digit deficit and reached overtime on a dramatic three-pointer from Javaunte Hawkins before falling 68-65 versus Raytown.
Immediately after that thriller, Lee’s Summit dug itself a big hole early and never recovered during a 62-45 loss against Ruskin.
North (6-7) will face Kansas City East (1-10), which lost to Hogan Prep 61-40 in Monday’s first game, during the consolation semifinals at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, while Lee’s Summit (8-5) will play Lincoln Prep — a 90-53 loser versus Raytown South (10-3) on Monday — at 5:30 p.m.
That means, for the first time since 2009, no Lee’s Summit team will play in the final. The last time a non-Lee’s Summit team won the tournament was Raytown South in 2011.
The Broncos appeared destined for the loser’s bracket until Hawkins’ buzzer-beater, which came after Raytown’s Robert Proctor missed the second of two free-throws with 6 seconds left.
Hawkins dribbled down court and swished an off-balance shot between two Raytown defenders as the horn sounded, tying the game 63-63.
“I just knew I had to get to my spot,” said Hawkins, who made four three-pointers and led North with 17 points. “If they didn’t foul me past half-court to where I could get the shot off, I had a lot of confidence. I love those moments, big moments like that.”
Two free throws by Elijah Farr gave North a 65-64 lead with 2:05 left in overtime, but those would be the Broncos’ only points in overtime.
Farr missed two shots right at the rim on North’s next two possessions and Hawkins missed an open three from the top of the key with 3 seconds left.
“I thought we had the momentum on our side,” North coach Mike Hilbert said. “We had some good looks early in overtime that just didn’t fall.”
The Broncos trailed 32-27 at the half as the Bluejays out-muscled the Broncos for offensive rebounds and second-chance baskets in building a 54-40 lead early in the fourth quarter.
But when Raytown tried to sit on its lead and quit pounding the ball inside, North took advantage.
The Broncos abandoned their 2-3 zone defense for more trapping man-to-man pressure, a switch that helped spark a 12-2 run that Hawkins capped with a three off a Raytown turnover and trimmed North’s deficit to 58-55 with just over 2 minutes to play.
“Really proud of the way they battled and never quit,” Hilbert said. “We got some steals, got some turnovers we were able to score the basketball and give ourselves a chance.”
Lee’s Summit never gave itself a chance against a hot-shooting Ruskin team. Down 16-10 after the first quarter, the Tigers never closed within double digits after Ruskin opened the second quarter with an 8-0 run.
Ruskin (5-10) led 33-23 at the half, buried the Tigers with a 29-point third quarter and pushed its lead to as many as 26 in the fourth frame.
“They hit a lot of open shots,” Lee’s Summit coach Blake Little said. “They pretty much got any look they wanted on the court all night. When you give a team open shots and they make a few, it becomes contagious.”
Derron McDaniel scored 16 points to lead Lee’s Summit, which also got 12 points from Seth Romi and 10 from Jaden Moore.
That wasn’t enough to keep up with the Eagles, who made 10 three-pointers and had five players in double figures. Javon Moore, who made five of those threes, finished with a game-high 21 points.
“We’re obviously disappointed in the way we played tonight,” Little said. “When you think about the Culver’s tournament and what a special occasion it can be for our team ... we had an opportunity tonight we didn’t embrace.”
The championship semifinals pit top-seeded Hogan Prep against No. 5 seed Raytown at 7 p.m. and sixth-seeded Ruskin against No. 2 seed Ray South at 8:30 p.m.