Coming into Friday night’s game, Shawnee Mission East head coach Shawn Hair was wary of Center’s prolific offense.
Center was averaging 81.5 points per game and senior guard Quincey Butler was averaging 28.3 himself, but the Lancers found answers.
Junior center Lucas Jones led Shawnee Mission East with 29 points as it defeated Center 75-53 on Friday night in the semifinals of the Sports Care Shootout at Shawnee Mission North. The Lancers improved to 2-0 with the victory and will face the winner of the St. James-Bishop McGuiness contest in the championship game at 5 p.m.
It was by far the lowest-scoring game for Center, while Butler was held to just 13 points. Senior guard Jarel Canty scored 18, including five three-pointers.
Jones stole the show shooting nine-for-15 from the field and a perfect 11-for-11 from the free throw line. He also added nine rebounds, two assists and a block.
“When they got the ball inside, they didn’t really help down so it was pretty much one-on-one and that is what I like,” Jones said.
The Lancers used an 11-0 run to build a 19-11 lead before the end of the first quarter, but the Yellowjackets answered with 20 second-quarter points to tie the score at 31-31 going into the locker room.
Jones scored the first basket of the second half on a dunk and it was all Lancers from there. They held the Yellowjackets to just six points in the third quarter while scoring 17, including a second 11-0 run to extend their lead.
“It was tied up and really, we were lucky to be tied up because they really outplayed us the last five minutes of the second quarter,” Hair said. “We just talked at halftime about getting the ball inside and getting to the free-throw line and stopping penetration. They were just dribbling, kicking, knocking down shots. They played really well in that first half.”
In the second half, Shawnee Mission East shot 52.6 percent from the field and converted 23 of 24 free throw attempts while outscoring Center 44-22.