It was late in the third quarter when Lee’s Summit West senior Yor Anei found himself alone in the lane with plenty of time to get artistic.
With no Lee’s Summit players close by to hinder him, the 6-foot-10 Anei went airborne, spun under the basket and threw down a two-hand behind-the-back reverse dunk that lit up an already frenzied crowd.
“That was amazing,” West forward Christian Bishop said. “It got the place jumping. Nasty.”
Anei’s slam received the most style points from his Titans teammates, but he certainly had some competition.
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That was just one of 10 dunks West players put down March 2 in beating Lee’s Summit 84-57 during the Class 5, District 13 boys’ basketball final at Raymore-Peculiar.
Next, West (22-4) will play District 14 champ Rockhurst (21-5) in a sectional game 4:45 p.m. on March 7 at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena in Independence. It was the Titans’ second consecutive district title as they seek a return to the Class 5 state tournament later this month at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.
If West keeps throwing down a few windmill dunks or one-handed slams along the way, that’s just fine with coach Michael Schieber.
“As long as they make them, I’m good with it,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s about us scoring more than they do. As long as we do that, I’m happy.”
If West is doing in scoring on dunks, it’s usually a sign that the Titans are forcing turnovers and getting transition opportunities, which is exactly what Schieber wants to see.
Lee’s Summit, for instance, committed 14 turnovers, which helped feed the Titans’ fast break and put them firmly in control from the outset.
The 6-8 Bishop had five dunks, including a one-handed tomahawk jam in the third quarter that also brought the near-capacity crowd to its feet. Anei had three and reserves Malachi Butler and Trevor Kardell got into the act with one slam apiece during the fourth quarter.
Bishop, who scored a team-high 19 points and was one of five Titans in double figures, said the jams help energize the team as well as the crowd.
“Once the entire team gets going, it’s just an unstoppable force,” Bishop said. “Once we get the energy, we start running and play real hard.”
Anei and Bishop got their first dunks during a 13-4 Titans run early in the first quarter. West led 22-8 at the end of the period and had a 34-14 lead before Lee’s Summit trimmed the deficit back to 40-28 by halftime.
Coming out of halftime, West scored six points off turnovers during a 9-2 run. Mario Goodrich forced one of those turnovers and flipped the ball to Bishop for a jam as the Titans pulled away 49-30.
Bishop later scored his one-handed jam, Anei went up for his crowd-pleaser and Bishop followed with another jam. West outscored the Lee’s Summit 24-15 in the third quarter for a 64-43 lead.
“It makes everything go to a different level when we see dunks like that happening,” said West guard Rich Johnson, who finished with 14 points. “Our energy and everything else just goes higher.”
Lee’s Summit (14-12), even with senior forward Will Eames’ 26-point effort, never could make a game of it.
“We have to play pretty much a perfect game against them and hope they don’t,” Lee’s Summit coach Blake Little said. “We were far from perfect early and dug ourselves a hole. If they’re going to hit shots and we’re not, and we’re going to turn the ball over, it’s going to be a long night.”
Anei and senior guard Phillip Brooks both finished with 15 points while Goodrich added 11 as West moved on to a rematch with Rockhurst, which handed the Titans their first loss of the season Jan. 9.
If the Titans want to throw another dunkfest, Bishop knows he has his coach’s blessing.
“He doesn’t care how we get the two points,” Bishop said. “As long as we get the two points, that’s all that matters.”