Lee’s Summit junior Drew Lock says the Tigers are still learning how to close out victories after suffering through a losing season last year.
That process took a step forward Friday night — albeit a rather frantic one.
After Winnetonka erased the Tigers’ 23-point halftime lead, Lee’s Summit bounced back with a handful of plays down the stretch and eeked out a 76-69 win on the road.
Lee’s Summit improved to 7-2, which is only three victories shy of last season’s total.
“This is bad, because I was on that team, but I don’t think we pull this one out last year,” Lock said. “We have a different mind-set this year. They came back on us, but we slowed down, made a couple of shots and got back into the game.”
Lee’s Summit built a 47-24 halftime lead, appearing ready to coast to victory before Winnetonka put together a furious second-half comeback.
The Griffins, 5-3, went on a 17-0 run in the third quarter — an effort led by Dee Jay Rivera-Wright, who scored 16 of his team-best 21 points after halftime — and they continued to chip away at the Lee’s Summit lead in the fourth quarter.
Winnetonka senior Tyler Roy buried a three-pointer from the top of the key with 4 minutes remaining in the game, pulling the Griffins even for the first time since the opening tip.
“We just freaked out a little bit,” Lock said. “They had a good crowd here, they’re obviously a good team, and all that got to us."
Lee’s Summit, however, never trailed. It responded to Roy’s three with a 12-5 run that ended the game.
Lock scored 11 of his game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter — six of them from the free-throw line.
Bruce Bias added 19 points for Lee’s Summit before leaving the game with an ankle injury in the final minutes.
Like the majority of his teammates, Bias did most of his damage in the first half. The Tigers made seven of 13 three-pointers prior to halftime and forced 17 Winnetonka turnovers. By comparison, they turned it over only three times in the first half.
The result was a 30-point output in the second quarter.
“The second quarter is about as well as we can play,” first-year Lee’s Summit coach Blake Little said. “There was about a six-minute stretch where I don’t think we could play any better. Every shot we took was good. We just let it fly. When we make shots like that, we’re tough.