Lee’s Summit North’s scintillating 73-71 overtime win at home against Bishop Hogan had more than anyone could ask for in a Friday night basketball game.
The game featured shots made under pressure by Bishop Hogan and clutch free-throw shooting by Lee’s Summit North. It had a game-winning buzzer-beater that was a bit controversial.
An energetic crowd watched Lee’s Summit North 6-foot-8 sophomore AJ Webster rebound a missed shot and put it back in at the buzzer, lifting the Broncos to the two-point win.
“Yes, I got it,” said an exuberant Webster, who finished with 18 points. “The refs called it.”
Indeed. But the signal that the basket was good left Bishop Hogan coach Rob Heitman in dismay. Still, Heitman wanted to look forward.
“The message is if we bring this type of performance against O’Hara and Barstow, we will play four-quarter games,” Heitman said. “We are just trying to get over the hump. We played with poise and composure in a hostile environment.”
Broncos coach Mike Hilbert was diplomatic about the victory.
“The shot went in,” said Hilbert. “I didn’t get a good perspective. It appeared it was after the buzzer based on the way the Hogan guys reacted and the coaches reacted. Based on their reaction, it was after the buzzer.”
What was before the buzzer was a strong performance from both sides. Sophomore Emil Spriggs and junior Anthony Lupardus each went four for four from the free-throw line in overtime, giving Lee’s Summit North a 71-68 lead.
“We have confidence from the free-throw line,” Spriggs said.
Bishop Hogan answered with a three-pointer by freshman Damien Daniels with 9.4 seconds left.
The Broncos pushed the ball up court and got an open look from senior Nolan Lamb, who finished with 16 points. Lamb’s shot bounced off the rim with about 2 seconds left. Webster grabbed the rebound and then grabbed the victory with the putback.
“The atmosphere was tremendous with the student body here tonight and the crowd back and forth,” Hilbert said. “I don’t know how many lead changes there were in the second half. From a fan perspective, it was a lot of fun to watch.”
A tactic by the LS North student section helped spark the Broncos to a 22-13 lead after the first quarter, or at least made that lead more interesting.
Before the game started, students passed out a slip of paper to all their fans to begin a new tradition, a silent night. Lee’s Summit North fans were asked not to cheer until the Broncos scored their 10th point. So the only cheering in player introductions came from Bishop Hogan fans.
When LS North scored its 10th point on a three-point play by Tyler Lovelace, the fans erupted. For a brief second, the loud roar stunned the Bishop Hogan fans.
The Broncos quickly turned a 10-4 lead into 20-11 advantage. Hogan, though, withstood that onslaught and went into halftime trailing 31-27.