Lee’s Summit North’s run at a state championship in basketball this season came to an end on Friday evening.
Columbia Rock Bridge beat Lee’s Summit North 72-59 at Hammons Student Center in the Class 5 semifinals.
Lee’s Summit North coach Mike Hilbert was playing proud of his players.
“We’re shooting, taking jump shots and if they’re not going in … guys are just fighting to get the rebound,” Hilbert said. “Those are the things that are really important to me about these guys: Their heart, their fight, they’re never willing to lay down and quit, and that’s what’s going to make them successful as adults.”
Lee’s Summit North will play for third place against Francis Howell at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
On Friday, Rock Bridge led Lee’s Summit North 14-13 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Broncos played a zone defense, working to trap the Bruins guards in the corners. Eventually, the Bruins broke down the defense and scored a layup.
Rock Bridge led Lee’s Summit North 29-21 at halftime.
LS North’s Elijah Smith dominated on the boards, snagging 13 rebounds to go with 13 points. Hilbert said he’d seen that out of Smith throughout the season, but was glad he showed up for the semifinal.
A three-pointer from senior guard Mikel Henderson put the Broncos within six with 3:14 left in the third quarter, but Rock Bridge answered right back with its own three--pointer. Henderson finished with 17 points. The third quarter ended with Rock Bridge up 44-36.
A steal and layup from LS North senior guard Javaunte Hawkins cut the Bruins’ lead to three in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough to propel the Broncos to a win.
“These guys are so together of any team I’ve coached in 27 years,” Hilbert said. “They care about each other, they love each other, they want each other to play well and be great.”
Rock Bridge’s triangle-and-two defense — where three players are in a zone and two play man-to-man defense — gave the Broncos trouble. Hilbert said they talked about and prepared for that defense, but it still gave them trouble.
The Bruins held the Broncos to just 25 percent shooting in the first half and 29.4 percent in the second. Rock Bridge shot 55.3 percent for the game, plus 33.3 percent from behind the three-point line and 93.8 percent from the free-throw line.
Rock Bridge’s Isiaih Mosley did plenty of damage with 33 points and 15 rebounds.
LS North had ten seniors, including Hawkins, who led the Broncos with 20 points.
“To me, I mean it means a lot. … We knew from the start of the summer we had a special group, we could do something special,” Hawkins said.
“We got here together. I think that was the best team we’ve played this year, easily. They just made more plays down the stretch than we did. … Hats off to them. it’s just a tough way to end.”
Hilbert said he’s loved coaching this team.
“It’s been a fantastic season for us and it just didn’t work out,” Hilbert said.