As the seconds ticked away and Blue Valley Northwest senior Clayton Custer’s illustrious high school career came to a close, the Huskies went bounding off the court with big smiles on their faces.
Not only did Blue Valley Northwest repeat as Kansas 6A state champions, but the Huskies did it with a throttling 73-46 victory over rival Blue Valley North on Saturday.
“For us to go out on top like that and play as well as we did tonight, it was awesome and it will be a memory I will never forget,” Custer said.
It was the fifth consecutive state championship appearance for the Huskies, whose senior class finishes with a 94-6 overall record, including a 23-2 mark this season.
Custer, who is headed to Iowa State next season, led the Huskies with a game-high 25 points. He shot nine-for-12 from the field. Fellow seniors Ben Richardson and Vince Fritz added 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Blue Valley Northwest held a 16-14 lead at the end of the first quarter, and started off the second period with a 7-0 run. By halftime, the Huskies led by six points. They used a commanding 10-0 run out of the break to take their first double-digit lead. In the final two quarters, Blue Valley Northwest outscored North 41-20.
“We just came out of the second half and started hitting shots,” Northwest coach Ed Fritz said. “If it is a full-court game, then we are pretty good, and we got them into a full-court game.”
The Huskies hit 15-of-23 shots in the second half, good for a 65.2 percent clip. That included a six-for-nine performance from beyond the arc. They shot 58.7 percent in the game and went nine-for-18 from three-point range.
“The first two times we played them, we defended the three pretty well. But today, they knocked down their shots,” North coach Ryan Phifer said. “I thought we came out hard and fought at the beginning, but they made their runs and we couldn’t answer.”
North was led by senior forward Jawan Emery, who scored 16 points. Senior guard Joseph Morrow added 10 points. North finished the season 20-5.Olathe South 56 girls, Manhattan 53
Olathe South girls basketball coach Steve Ingram has a motto that he shares with his teams: No regrets.
For him, that meant missing the Falcons’ game on Saturday to spend time with his ailing father. For his girls, that meant defeating Manhattan 56-53 to take a Kansas 6A third-place trophy back to their coach.
“We didn’t want to end it on a bad note,” senior guard Bailey Rinehart said. “We wanted to be happy and have happy tears.”
The Falcons trailed Manhattan 41-40 entering the fourth quarter, but junior Kylee Kopatich drove into the lane and drew a foul to give them a 48-46 lead. Manhattan cut the lead to two points with 35 seconds left in the game, but again, Kopatich answered to extend the lead with a pair of free throws.
Kopatich led Olathe South with 17 points and Rinehart added 15 points, including three three-pointers. The Falcons finished 22-3.