A tournament championship game that started with a procession of missed jump shots tested the patience of Raymore-Peculiar junior Nick Janssen. For the first 22 minutes of play in Friday’s tilt with Park Hill South, Janssen kept firing. And the shots kept missing.
Finally, a third-quarter swish broke the luckless streak.
And then they fell in bunches.
Janssen scored 16 of his game-high 18 points in the final 10 minutes of play Friday, sparking Raymore-Peculiar to a 54-48 victory against Park Hill South in the championship game of the 65th annual North Kansas City basketball tournament.
Raymore-Peculiar, 13-2, won its seventh straight game to prevent Park Hill South from repeating as the tournament's champions.
“My teammates give me a lot of confidence, because they tell me to just keep shooting — that eventually they will start going in,” Janssen said. “I came off a screen, and I finally hit one. That just got me going.”
It came at a much-needed time. Park Hill South senior Mitch Henderson had just finished a fast-break opportunity with a layup that cut his team’s deficit to one point with 2:05 remaining in the third quarter.
That’s when Janssen caught fire.
Park Hill South sucked in its defense in an attempt to keep Raymore-Peculiar off the glass — and slow down forward James Sappington, who also scored 18 points — but that offered more spacious opportunities on the perimeter. Janssen was ready. He scored 12 points over a three-minute span that pushed Raymore Peculiar’s lead back to six.
And Raymore-Peculiar led by at least five the rest of the way.
“We showed a lot of maturity tonight in dealing with the adversity of them coming at us,” Raymore-Peculiar coach Scott Jermain said. “They made some runs at us. We weathered the storm. We got back on our heels, but then we got it back going again, which was really good to see.”
Park Hill South, 11-3, didn’t have the shooting touch to respond. After making 15 of 18 three-point attempts in an early-round game in the tournament, Park Hill South missed its first seven attempts from behind the arc Friday. That resulted in a meager seven-point output in the first quarter.
Absent the four three-pointers from senior Easton Fortuna, who led the team with 14 points, Park Hill South shot only 13 percent from three-point range.
Senior forward Allen Hyatt added 10 points for Park Hill South.
“We’ve been shooting it so well, but I told the guys before the game that we’ve got to work (the ball) inside-out,” Park Hill South coach Dan Parra said. “We can’t just rely on that. When the shots weren’t falling, it was sort of like, what do we do now? Where do we get our points? We never really found that answer.”
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