As a captain and four-year starter for the O’Hara boys basketball team, Dezmond McDaniel embraced the responsibility of taking the last shot on Saturday morning.
The Celtics and Raytown Blue Jays were tied before McDaniel’s off-balance layup dropped in with two seconds left on the clock. Raytown made it all the way down the court, but could not equalize again and O’Hara escaped with a 52-50 victory in the first game of the William Jewell Holiday Classic in the Nelson Division.
“I’m a big-time player and I love big-time shots,” McDaniel said. “I got the shot.”
McDaniel finished with a game-high 23 points and shot 50 percent from the field in helping the Celtics to their first tournament victory in his four years. Devin Drew led Raytown with 14 points.
O’Hara will play Blue Springs South at 6 p.m. on Tuesday in the semifinals and Raytown will face William Chrisman at noon on Monday in the consolation bracket.
St. Joseph Central 46, Smithville 43
Riley Gesling and the Smithville Warriors came roaring out of halftime to cut an eight-point deficit to one point late in the third quarter.
They rallied again in the fourth for a two-point deficit with 32 seconds left and rebounded a missed three-point attempt, but lost the ball in a scuffle under the basket and fell 46-43 to the St. Joseph Central Indians.
Gesling led all scorers with 20 points. Fifteen came in the third quarter, which included a streak of five consecutive field goals. He was 8 for 12 from the field and he pulled down 11 rebounds for a double-double.
Smithville will face Oak Park at 1:30 p.m. on Monday in the consolation bracket.
Blue Springs South 69, William Chrisman 24
Blue Springs South had a decisive lead by the end of the first quarter and it only grew from there.
The top-seeded Jaguars earned a running clock in the fourth quarter and cruised to a 69-24 victory against William Chrisman. They held the Bears to just eight points in the first half.
Blue Springs South is going for its third consecutive William Jewell Holiday Classic championship, with titles in the Nelson and Cardinal divisions the last two years.
KJ Robinson and Briley Moore-McKinney paced the Jaguars with 18 and 12 points, respectively. Ten of the 11 Blue Springs South players that saw the court scored in the game.
Johnny Young III led the Bears with a perfect 3-for-3 performance from the field and 2-for-2 performance from beyond the arc for nine points.
Lee’s Summit West 75, Oak Park 55
Lee’s Summit West overcame a slow start with a barrage of three-pointers to take and keep the lead for the rest of the game.
The Titans topped Oak Park 75-55 to advance to the semifinals after shooting 75 percent from the field and 61.5 percent from three-point range. They finished with eight three-pointers in 13 attempts.
Joe Ganaden led the attack from beyond the arc with three three-pointers and CJ May had two. Mario Goodrich, Anthony Serna and Caleb LuAllen each added one.