A 16-point lead entering the final quarter was barely enough for Center to hold off Truman in Saturday’s night session of the 36th annual William Jewell Holiday Classic at the Mabee Center.
Center pulled out an 84-81 win in a first round Patterson Division game. It took four free throws by Center senior Franck Kamgain in the final 20 seconds to prevent Truman from completing the comeback.
“It was tough, but I honestly had to focus and knock them down to get the win,” said Kamgain, who scored a team-high 22 points.
Center, 7-1, will take on Lee’s Summit, 5-0, in the Patterson Division semifinals at 9 p.m. Tuesday.
Each team came into Saturday’s game with one loss. It turned out to be as evenly matched as the final score.
But heading into the fourth quarter, it looked like Center was headed for an easy win. The Yellowjackets held a 60-44 lead. Senior forward Robert Gillum was almost unstoppable in the first three quarters.
“They penetrated and dished, making good moves and finding me open,” said Gillum, who finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
Center held a 34-28 lead at halftime and played even better in the third quarter.
“We pressured them on the defensive end, and we got a couple of stops and capitalized on the offensive end,” Kamgain said.
Despite the 16-point deficit, Truman kept battling and closed to within seven points at 70-63 with 2:45 left on consecutive baskets by Truman senior Dalton Eighmey. A bucket by senior Derek Sykes pulled the Patriots to within five at 70-65 with 2:10 left.
Sykes made it even more interesting by hitting his second three-pointer in less than 20 seconds as Truman closed to 80-77 with 30.7 seconds left.
“It got a lot closer than we wanted,” Gillum said. “We started turning the ball over.”
Sykes stole the ball one last time and turned it into a layup, pulling the Patriots to within one at 80-79 with 17 seconds left.
Truman scored 37 points in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough. Sykes finished with 23 points and Reid Titus added 21 for the Patriots.
Lee’s Summit 85, Central 48
Leading by 26 points at halftime, Lee’s Summit came out just as intense to start the second half. The Tigers scored the first 10 points in the third quarter and breezed to an easy 85-48 victory over Central.
“We felt like we didn’t play as well as we are capable of in the first half,” said Lee’s Summit senior Blake Spellman, who finished with 16 points. “Coming out in the second half, we tried to come out with as much energy as we could. I felt we did a good job of doing that.”
Lee’s Summit played up to its No. 1 seed in the Patterson Division from the opening tip. Lee’s Summit scored the first 12 points in the game.
Central finally got on the scoreboard on a three-pointer by senior Tyvon Taylor, who finished with a game-high 22. But the Blue Eagles didn’t have near enough firepower to combat Lee’s Summit’s fastbreak.
Lee’s Summit went into halftime ahead 50-24 on the strength of 63 percent shooting from the field.
The 10 straight points Lee’s Summit scored to start the third quarter gave the Tigers a commanding 60-24 lead. The third quarter ended with Lee’s Summit ahead 77-36.
Also scoring in double figures for Lee’s Summit were Marquawn Wilson, who finished with 16, Nick Larkin and Isiah Sears each scored 12 and Sonaj Braven added 10.
Park Hill 74, North Kansas City 57
Park Hill scored 28 points in the final quarter and put away North Kansas City. Led by 15 points from junior Chester Graves and 14 points from senior Tanner Zeil, Park Hill used a balanced scoring attack to build its lead.
Senior Brandon Towsell added 13 points for the Trojans, and junior Dru Smith had 12.
North Kansas City was led by sophomore Deng Bol, who made four of five three-point attempts and finished with 20 points.
Kearney 59, Raymore-Peculiar 48
Kearney scored 10 of the last 12 points in the third quarter and that spurt carried the Bulldogs to the victory.
The game was tied 23-23 at halftime. Kearney held a 33-30 lead when it went on its run to close out the third quarter.
Senior Logan Hinck led Kearney with 15 points, and junior Connor Ritz added 14 points. Senior Nick Janssen led Raymore-Peculiar with 21 points.
Kearney will play Park Hill in a Patterson Division semifinal game at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.