Late in the third quarter Saturday, Barstow senior Jeriah Horne gave teammate Jacob Gilyard the signal.
Gilyard knew what he had to do, and this time, the execution was perfect.
As Horne sliced through the lane, Gilyard lofted a perfect pass toward the rim. Horne completed the alley-oop with a powerful dunk, symbolizing Barstow’s dominating 66-31win over Lawson in a Missouri Class 3 quarterfinal at Lee’s Summit. The Knights head back to Columbia this week to defend their state title.
“I had just messed up an alley-oop to Jeriah a couple of possessions before, and we made eye contact and he put his hand up for the lob,” Gilyard said. “We try it every once in a while, I’m glad it worked out this time.”
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With a quick start, Barstow made sure Lawson, 24-7, lost any hope of an upset. The Knights scored the game’s first nine points, and Horne tallied 12 of his game-high 26 points the opening quarter.
“We knew the middle would be open against their 2-3 zone,” Horne said. “We kind of run a three-out, two in offense. My teammates were looking for me, and the lane was open. And once the zone opened a bit, it was easier to get the ball.”
Barstow led 43-16 at halftime and Horne’s dunk extended the advantage to 37. Gilyard finished with 14 points, and Shea Rush added 12 for the Knights, 25-3, who will play at state for the third straight season.
“For us, every year we start out it’s about playing on the last few days of the season,” Barstow coach Billy Thomas said. “To be doing that for the third year in a row says a lot about these kids and their resolve.
“This is the time of the year the kids live for, to be able to come play in gyms like this.”