Lee’s Summit has no choice now. If the Tigers want to be champions, they’ll have to be perfect.
Lee’s Summit will head into Class 5 district play with a spotless 25-0 record after a wild 61-58 victory over Lee’s Summit West on Friday night in front of a full house at the Titans’ gym. The Tigers may still be perfect going into the postseason, but they had to survive a frantic finish against one of their toughest rivals to stay that way.
Lee’s Summit opened up what had been a back-and-forth game and took a 56-46 lead early in the fourth quarter. Lee’s Summit West then went on a 12-2 run that ended with two free throws by Mario Goodrich off an intentional foul and slam by big man Elijah Childs on the ensuing possession for a 58-58 tie.
The Titans missed three point-blank shots and two free throws, and a Nick Larkin free throw with 34 seconds left would be the go-ahead point.
Never miss a local story.
Blake Spellman sealed the win with two free throws with 6 seconds left, the last of his game-high 25 points. Lee’s Summit West got off a shot at the buzzer that just missed.
And the streak continues.
“This was a tough environment and it was a crazy crowd for both teams,” said Spellman, who hit four three-pointers. “It was definitely a tough one. They’re a good team.”
LS West made it tough on the Tigers with a 3-2 zone defense the Titans had rarely shown this season. Childs, the Titans’ 6-foot-7 sophomore, confounded Lee’s Summit by being up court at times and not under the basket.
Childs was also finding looks inside, and that helped him score 20 points and keep the Titans on top much of the first half.
“That was a weird look and they did a good job with it,” Spellman said. “But we developed as the game went and we did a good job.”
The teams spent the first half hitting each other with runs before Lee’s Summit West took a 33-30 lead at intermission.
The Titans put together an 8-0 run late in the first quarter and took a 15-9 lead late in the first quarter.
A three-point from reserve Somaj Brewer put Lee’s Summit up 18-17, but the Titans responded with an 11-2 run. Childs, who muscled his way inside for 13 points in the first half, hit two baskets in a spurt that ended with a halfcourt steal and layup by C.J. May for a 28-20 Titan lead.
But Lee’s Summit responded quickly. A Spellman three-pointer and another off a pinpoint pass from Oliver Edwards helped cut the lead to 28-27. But two inside buckets from Childs — the first a thundering slam set up by Joe Gananden — put Lee’s Summit West back on top.