Grandview and Raytown South know each other well as longtime conference and south Kansas City rivals. That proved both a good thing and a bad thing when they met with a state championship on the line.
The Bulldogs took command early and never let up, and Grandview captured the first boys basketball state title in its history after rolling to an 81-63 victory in the Missouri Class 4 state championship game Saturday night at JQH Arena.
Grandview (28-3) knew it had to get off to a good start — and it did. The Bulldogs came out firing, making 57 percent of their shots in the first half, just as Grandview coach Reggie Morris had hoped they would.
“I thought our start was a very important key to the game,” Morris said. “We felt if we could get into their spirit early, and get a lead, we felt that we could do a lot of damage to their psyche and allow us to do the things we wanted to do.”
After a back-and-forth early first quarter, the Bulldogs took control with a 12-0 run from the end of the first quarter into the second. Jordan Lathon, who had 13 of his game-high 24 points in the first half, started the run with a jumper and a slam on an outlet pass off a blocked shot.
Reginald Morris started the second quarter with a three-pointer, and Lathon popped a fadeaway three and two free throws for a 28-11 lead.
Grandview led 34-19 by halftime and threw the knockout punch at the beginning of the third quarter. Lathon drove for a basket, Deandre Sorells popped a three after a midcourt steal and Mason Taylor added a transition jumper, and Grandview had a 41-19 lead.
Raytown South (25-6), despite 23 points from Jamar Madge and 17 points from Sevon Witt, could never get the deficit under double digits. Every time the Cardinals made a run, Grandview seemed to have an answer.
That proved frustrating for Ray-South, as did the high number of fouls called on both teams in the second half. The Cardinals were whistled for three technical fouls in the second half, which helped Grandview pull away.
“There’s a lot of things that come with Grandview-Raytown South,” Ray-South coach Aaron Ihm said. “Those kids have grown up playing with each other and against each other. When it goes bad for one team, it can go bad really quick.”
Grandview, which also got 19 points from Sorrells, 16 from Mason Taylor and 10 from Kamto Eze, became a champion in only its second state tournament appearance. The Bulldogs fell to Chaminade in the 2009 Class 5 final.
Raytown South, in its first state tournament and championship game since 2003, was looking for the fifth state title in school history and its first since 1990.