Blue Valley North takes title in KAMO Hoops Shootout

06/15/2014 11:29 PM

06/18/2014 12:45 AM

It wasn’t the normal intense high school basketball tournament.

Coaches in T-shirts and athletic shorts worked from the sidelines (along with the referees).

Players were pushing the last ounce of energy as their fourth game of the day came to a close, having only a few minutes to recover between games.

But all the teams involved worked up a good sweat against competition from all over the Midwest.

Both Blue Valley North and Shawnee Mission South played hard and were tired, but the Mustangs made a few more plays to take the KAMO Hoops Shootout title game at SM East High School 57-49.

“I’m tired and I haven’t played and I know how tired these guys must be,” BV North coach Ryan Phifer said. “But I’m proud of them because the last few games (of the tournament) we only played with seven guys.”

One of the leading performers for the Mustangs during the title game was Cooper Cook.

The 6-foot-5 forward showed off his ability to make efficient plays on the post, while also knocking down a couple 3-pointers as his team pulled ahead of the Raiders.

“We knew both teams were going to be tired going in. We just had to dig down,” Cook said. “We didn’t start out well in the first half, but after that we got our energy going a little bit.”

The Mustangs are not taking the summer lightly. With weights Monday-Thursday along with games and tournaments most weekends, it’s about staying sharp while competing against the other metro summer teams.

What matters most for Phifer during this time of the year remains helping his kids progress slowly and not suffer any major setbacks.

“We want to play and get better, but we can’t get injured,” Phifers said. “We’ve got to take care of the kids bodies. We tinker with a few things here and there, maybe a new defense or a new play.”

Although BV North and SM South were the featured game of Sunday, more than 325 games played at five area sites for the Shootout.

The organizers for the seven-divison tournament were SM East coach Shawn Hair and his brother, Saint Thomas Aquinas assistant coach B.J. Hair. The teams participating were Varsity-C teams coached by their high schools.

“When B.J. and I set this out 12 years ago, we wanted it to be high school teams and high school coaches,” Shawn Hair said. “This is what we do. This is our life.”

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