As he cycled through a list of goals for the 2014-15 season during a preseason meeting with his team, Lincoln Prep High School coach Sean Pearson emphasized one in particular.
A tournament championship.
After it took the Tigers less than two weeks to reach that objective — they won the Eagle Invitational at Summit Christian Academy — Pearson upped the ante. He wanted two trophies.
As of Saturday, the Tigers reached that goal, too.
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Lincoln Prep outshot Staley in an 88-74 championship victory Satuday in the Grain Valley Sonic Showdown. The Tigers used a 25-point effort from Steven Dulley to erase an early double-digit deficit and improve to 15-3.
“The guys came out and left it all of the floor,” Pearson said. “We could’ve lost our composure, but they regrouped and kept battling. They stuck together and got the job done.”
That’s been a common theme as of late, Pearson said, with his players starting to figure out their roles. Dulley, Jonathan Reese and Asim Brown have been providing the scoring punch, and Pearson credits Micah Smith, Mylan Collins and Duane Clayton as leading his defense.
“My three guards are picking up halfcourt and pressing the ball like crazy, and that’s where the intensity starts,” Pearson said. “It’s carrying over to my forwards. It’s a lot of credit to those young men because there’s been a couple of games where we hadn’t shot the ball well, but we’ve been consistent on the defensive end.”
That defensive effort showed up late against Staley. After allowing the Falcons to score 44 points in the first half, Lincoln Prep limited them to only 30 points over the final two quarters. And they spread the ball around enough to overcome Staley senior Trevor Lamb’s 31-point evening.
“We’re starting to get an identity of a team that brings it 100 percent every day,” Pearson said. “It’s been that way in practice for the last two or three weeks, and it’s showing up in the games.”
Games of the week
Liberty North at Raytown, 7 p.m. Friday
The Raytown Blue Jays opened the season on a five-game losing streak — a stretch that included a pair of overtime losses and another blown fourth-quarter lead.
That sure seems like a long time ago now.
Raytown has reeled off nine straight victories and stands alone atop the Suburban White Conference with a 5-0 league record heading into a Tuesday night game against William Chrisman.
Liberty North, one of the road blocks toward a conference championship, visits Raytown on Friday.
The battle of big men should be an attractive one. Liberty North junior forward Michael Hughes will be pitted against Raytown forwards Jailen Gill and Derrick Walker.
Hughes is one of the city’s best shot blockers — and he has turned into a more consistent low-post scoring option, too.
Lee’s Summit West at Raymore-Peculiar, 7 p.m. Friday
There’s never an easy night in the Suburban Gold Conference. The six teams in the league have combined for a 71-29 record this season.
It’s not easy to maintain a long winning streak within the conference. Just ask Raymore-Peculiar, which took an eight-game surge into a matchup with Lee’s Summit and promptly lost by 24 points on its home floor.
Can Raymore-Peculiar bounce back? It will take a quality showing.
After a trip to unbeaten Blue Springs South on Tuesday, Raymore-Peculiar returns home Friday for a matchup with Lee’s Summit West.
The Titans, who were 9-7 heading into a trip to Blue Springs on Tuesday, will need to be creative in their efforts to defend Ray-Pec’s front line, which includes James Sappington and Ben Harris. Lee’s Summit West is an undersized team that has used senior Jarred Dixon, a former point guard, at center in its zone defense this season.