Armed with the memory of a bitter one-point loss to Shawnee Mission East on December 13 and a spark from a buzzer-beater in the junior-varsity game, the Rockhurst boys basketball team took the floor with fire and exacted its revenge in dominant fashion Friday night.
The Hawklets built up a 20-point lead by halftime and cruised to a 70-44 victory over rival SM East in front of a capacity crowd at home on Friday night.
“They so deserve it,” senior forward Patrick Geha said of the crowd. “We have struggled the last two years and they really deserve it. It was a lot of fun tonight.”
The game could not have been much different than the December thriller. which SM East won 53-52.
Rockhurst jumped out to an early 14-2 lead and held the Lancers scoreless for nearly four minutes of the first quarter. SM East cut the margin back to six points by the first buzzer, but it gave up another run and failed to score in double digits in any quarter the remainder of the night.
“Our mantra has been, ‘maximum effort and maximum attitude,’ ” Rockhurst coach Peter Campbell said. “If you bring good effort and good attitude to a game, I can live with any outcome. Tonight they brought great effort and great attitude. It was fun.”
Geha led the Hawklets with 19 points, including three three-pointers. Cartier Dean and Will Bazzle each added 13 points.
The biggest difference for the Lancers from the first matchup was the absence of forward Joey Wentz, who has elected to focus his efforts on baseball. The other half of their power forward duo, Lucas Jones, scored 15 points for the Lancers. Teammate Zeb Vermillion also had 15 points, and Gunnar Englund contributed 11.
It was the third consecutive victory for the Hawklets, who improved to 8-10. The blowout was especially rewarding for Campbell, who was seen his team lose eight of its 10 games by five points or less.
“Playing in some of these tough games I hope has helped us prepare for tough environments and playoff environments,” Campbell said. “I’m excited for our kids because they really worked hard.”
To reach Kathleen Gier, call 816-234-4875 or send email to email@example.com.