Blue Springs South senior Kevin Puryear streaked down the sideline of Mizzou Arena, sidestepped a defender with a behind-the-back move and lofted into the air for a thunderous dunk.
Six days after his two-handed slam lifted Blue Springs South to its first state-semifinal appearance, his latest one was merely a fourth-quarter exclamation point.
The Jaguars advanced to the Missouri Class 5 championship game with a 61-52 win Friday afternoon against St. Louis University High School.
Searching for its first state title in school history, Blue Springs South will meet Park Hill South at 6:40 p.m. Saturday at Mizzou Arena.
“You can’t win a championship without defense, and our defense was great today,” Puryear said. “That’s why we’re moving on.”
With his future college coach, Missouri’s Kim Anderson, sitting courtside, Puryear led the Jaguars with 25 points and 13 rebounds.
He was awfully good.
Blue Springs South’s most critical run of the game, however, came with him saddled on the bench in foul trouble. Puryear picked up his third foul less than 2 minutes into the third quarter, after SLUH had trimmed the Jaguars’ double-digit lead to one point.
That opened an opportunity for SLUH to take its first lead of the game. Never happened. Instead, Blue Springs South responded with an 11-1 spurt and led by at least six points for for the remainder of the game.
In other words, the Jaguars finished like they started. Blue Springs South, 28-2, scored the first seven points of the game.
“The great thing about this team is they all believe in each other, they all trust each other, and they’re all capable of carrying the load anytime they’re called upon,” Blue Springs South coach Jimmy Cain said. “... They’re still just as confident when (Puryear) is not out there.”
It took an entire cast of characters to fill the void. Briley Moore-McKinney posted a double-double for the Jaguars with 11 points and 11 rebounds. KJ Robinson added 11 points. Marcus Meyer had eight rebounds.
“My teammates were great,” Puryear said. “They came out and showed everyone what Blue Springs South basketball is all about. They played great. It made it a lot easier for me to sit over there and watch.”