Lee’s Summit coach Blake Little shared one thought with his staff as they walked toward a victorious locker room Friday night:
A healthy Bruce Bias is a good Bruce Bias.
Bias led the way for the Tigers in their 73-62 Senior Night victory over Liberty, scoring a game-high 19 points in a balanced effort.
“He hurt his ankle against Winnetonka, back in the second week of January. He has sprained his right ankle twice and his left ankle once in that stretch trying to come back,” Little said. “This is the first time he’s been close to 100 percent. When he’s back and playing in rhythm, it really gives us another dynamic that really opens things up for everybody else.”
Bias and his teammates made a point of attacking the rim. It worked, even if the initial effort wasn’t successful.
“It was just a few minor ankle sprains. Once I’m out here playing, it’s nothing really. I just wanted to play my hardest, and I’m just proud of my teammates,” Bias said.
The first four minutes didn’t go so well for Lee’s Summit, 18-7. Liberty made six of its first seven field goals and leapt to a 14-3 lead.
“One of our game keys tonight was to try to stop Liberty in transition. Liberty’s a phenomenal transition team, and of their first 14 points, 11 were transition buckets. We did not stick to the game plan early,” Little said.
The Tigers started their comeback at that point. They trailed by five at halftime and took the lead for good late in the third quarter.
“I didn’t doubt us,” Bias said. “It was rebounding and running the floor. We got out in transition and got some easy buckets.”
Liberty, 19-7, never came close to recapturing the momentum it had to start the game.
Foul trouble and a seven-of-19 performance from the free throw line — one-of-nine in the first half — didn’t help matters.
Lee’s Summit got 17 points from Jordan Bennett and 13 points from leading scorer Drew Lock, who didn’t have a field goal in the first half.
“There wasn’t much rhythm to the game to be honest with you, and it was difficult. We had some in the first half, but we did not have any in the second half,” Liberty coach Roger Stirtz said. “We left some points off the scoreboard at the free throw line, and points were more difficult in the second half than they should be.”
Brandon Cardiff scored 18 for Liberty, and Brady Newland had 14 points.