Nick Larkin knew he had to adjust.
Mid-air and faced with Liberty North’s 6-foot-9 Michael Hughes in front of him during the third quarter on Saturday, Larkin, a Lee’s Summit senior guard, made an acrobatic move and somehow laid the ball off the glass for a basket.
“I was looking for the pass out, but he stayed in the middle, so I just had to get the shot around him,” Larkin said.
It was just one of the displays of athleticism and speed that propelled Lee’s Summit to a 63-44 victory over Liberty North in a Missouri Class 5 boys quarterfinal on Saturday at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena in Independence.
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“You have to play to your strengths. They play to their size and we play to our quickness, and our quickness won out,” Lee’s Summit coach Blake Little said. “We have eight guys who can really move, and we try to play to that (advantage).”
Lee’s Summit, 29-0, built an eight-point halftime lead and never let the game get closer than that the rest of the way. Back-to-back transition dunks by Isiah Sears midway through the fourth ended any thoughts of a Liberty North comeback.
“We figure the faster the game gets, the better off we are,” Little said, “and that’s what happened the second half.”
Marquawn Wilson led Lee’s Summit with 15 points and Blake Spellman added 13 points.
Hughes finished an impressive career with 15 points for Liberty North, which ended its season at 25-4.
Lee’s Summit advances to the state tournament for the first time since 1988.
“You try to celebrate every accomplishment, because you never know when the season is going to end,” Little said. “We just talk about trying to win each individual game.”