The Hy-Vee Shootout at Avila University will pit some of the best high school basketball teams from Missouri and Kansas against one another. It begins Wednesday and continues through Saturday. Among the 21 games over a four-day span, here are five games worth a second look.
GIRLS: Blue Springs vs. Blue Valley North, 4 p.m. Friday
Blue Valley North finished third in the Kansas Class 6A state tournament last season, but they return Maria Klug who was a first-team All-Eastern Kansas League selection. Their lone loss so far was to defending Kansas 5A state champion St. Thomas Aquinas. Blue Springs, which has advanced to the Missouri state tournament the last five seasons, had to replace its top three scorers from last season.
This game will feature three Division I signees: Abby Hix and Becca Jones of Truman and Kylee Kopatich of Olathe South. The Patriots bring a streak of six consecutive wins into the matchup, and all but two have been won by 15 points or more.
BOYS: Rockhurst vs. Olathe East, 6 p.m. Saturday
Rockhurst, the Missouri defending state champion, will face one of the most talented teams in Kansas. Caelan Neal and Ezra Talbert are averaging 17.5 and 14.5 points per game, respectively, for Olathe East, which suffered its only loss to the Barstow School in a 63-62 game. Rockhurst won its first two games but now is looking to recover from back-to-back losses.
BOYS: Lee’s Summit West vs. Blue Valley Northwest, 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Blue Valley Northwest’s first two games were blowouts: a 71-39 victory against Bishop Miege and a 80-45 triumph over Springfield Kickapoo. The Huskies have three future Division I athletes, including Iowa State commit Clay Custer. Lee’s Summit West will be a tall task as they return six players who saw significant minutes from the team that had 21 wins and advanced to a Missouri district championship last season.
BOYS: Blue Springs South vs. Shawnee Mission South, 9 p.m. Saturday
SM South, the reigning Kansas 5A state champion, returns two talented seniors in Danian Swoope and Devin Newsome. The Raiders will take on a dangerous Blue Springs South team in the final game of the Hy-Vee Shootout. Blue Springs South got an early boost with a 73-67 victory against Rockhurst last week in the McDonald’s Tournament.
| Kathleen Gier, email@example.com