After watching a 10-point lead whittled down to four at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Barstow boys basketball team turned to its big man inside.
Junior Jeriah Horne answered the call and scored 12 of his 22 points in the final period to lead the Knights to a 60-46 victory against Shawnee Mission North in the Championship Showdown at Shawnee Mission East on Friday. He also pulled down a team-best eight rebounds and went 10 for 11 at the free-throw line.
“He was the type of player that we need him to be to win these types of games,” Barstow coach Billy Thomas said. “We are a pretty talented bunch, but when we are in a dogfight or a slugfest like that we need to have our most physical player play physical.”
Thomas attributed his team’s struggles offensively to Shawnee Mission North’s physicality. There were 14 fouls and a pair of offsetting technical fouls in the fourth quarter alone and a total of 51 fouls for the game. The Knights finished the game with 18 fouls and 17 turnovers.
However, Thomas also found positives in those stats.
“I’m pretty excited because I don’t think we have played well offensively yet,” Thomas said. “Defensively, our effort has been tremendous so I am extremely satisfied with that, but offensively we are still out of sync. Over the break we’ll get a chance to practice and there is a lot of promise.”
The Knights held the Indians to 33 percent shooting in the second half and forced 17 turnovers in the game. The only two Indians able to score through the pressure were Marcus Weather and Michael Weathers, who finished with 20 and 13 points, respectively.
The first quarter saw four ties and five lead changes, but Barstow finished with a five-point lead on Shea Rush’s fastbreak dunk. Although the lead fluctuated over the next three quarters, Shawnee Mission North could never cut it to less than four points.
Horne was one of three players to finish in double digits for the Knights, joining Jacob Gilyard and Tripp Walsworth. They turned in 13 and 11 points, respectively, and Rush added nine.
With the victory, the Knight improved to 5-0 and advanced to the tournament championship where they will face St. John Vianney of Kirkwood, Mo., at 5 p.m. on Saturday. Vianney defeated St. James Academy 59-45 in the semifinals.
“Last year we were the young team and no one really knew about us, but we started to make that jump,” Horne said. “We have the opportunity to prove that Barstow is going to compete and coach Thomas has brought a lot of patience and poise. We rely on him a lot.”