Lee’s Summit West coach Michael Schieber spent much of Thursday night sitting in a hotel room, trying to find ways to motivate his boys for a third-place game they never wanted to play.
He settled on four approaches, but one especially stood out. Over the past three seasons, he later told his players, the Lee’s Summit West program had never lost back-to-back games.
The streak remains intact.
Lee’s Summit West bounced back from its semifinal loss a day earlier and defeated Hazelwood Central 70-58 in the Missouri Class 5 third-place game Friday at Mizzou Arena.
The Titans, 27-4, outscored Hazelwood Central 39-24 after halftime.
“I thought the second half was very indicative of the way these kids have played all year — responded to a challenge, responded to adversity, responded when things didn’t always go your way,” Schieber said. “I couldn’t be prouder of that.”
A day after being taken out of its transition game, Lee’s Summit West returned to form. The Titans put together a 20-3 run in the second half — erasing a nine-point deficit — with half the points coming on fast breaks.
An improved defensive effort led to the transition buckets. Lee’s Summit West held Hazelwood Central to 30-percent shooting in the second half.
“We kept the ball out of the middle and started rotating better on defense,” Titans junior Jarred Dixon said. “That allowed us some transition opportunities, which made us go on the run we did.”
Lee’s Summit West featured another balanced scoring effort — reflective of most of the season.
Monte Harrison led the way with 16 points — highlighted by a windmill dunk in the third quarter. Thomas Ganaden posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Gary Davis added 11 points, and Dixon chipped in 10 more.
“It’s hard coming off a loss like that, but we wanted to go out with a win,” said Titans senior Dale Brown, who collected eight rebounds. “It’s a nice thing to remember — at least we got a win at the end.”