Blue Springs South gave up five points in less than 10 seconds at the conclusion of the first half and went into halftime trailing by five against O’Hara.
Despite several spurts by O’Hara throughout the game, the Jaguars never looked rattled. They either went inside to senior forward Briley Moore-McKinney or allowed senior guard KJ Robinson to create.
It worked to perfection as Blue Springs South stayed perfect on the season, beating O’Hara 72-66 Tuesday evening in a Nelson Division semifinal game in the William Jewell Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament. Robinson finished with 27 and Moore-McKinney scored 25.
“Whenever you are playing a great team and they are playing like that, it can be very easy to get rattled,” Moore-McKinney said. “A key way to stay in the game and come out victorious is to relax and play the game.”
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Blue Springs South, 8-0, will play Lee’s Summit West 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Nelson Division championship game.
Blue Springs South trailed 14-8 late in the first quarter, 33-28 at halftime and 43-36 midway through the third quarter, partly because of the quick tempo by O’Hara.
The Jaguars found their rhythm and took a 50-47 lead on a three-point play by Moore-McKinney late in the third quarter. A three-pointer by senior Mike Jones gave Blue Springs South a 57-52 lead after three quarters.
O’Hara kept battling and closed to 66-65 on two free throws by senior Dezmond McDaniel with just over a minute left. McDaniel finished with 20 points.
The Jaguars scored the next four points to put the game away.
“This was so much fun, going against guys we played with and against at a young age,” Moore-McKinney said. “You couldn’t ask for a more competitive game.”