A minute into Friday’s game game, Lincoln Prep coach Sean Pearson called a timeout.
He wasn’t pleased by two quick baskets his team gave up to O’Hara at the 35th Annual William Jewell Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament.
“He told us to calm down and play our game,” said Lincoln Prep senior Jonathan Reese, who finished with 16 points.
The Tigers responded by scoring 10 of next 12 points and never trailed again on the way to a 75-58 victory in a first-round Nelson Division game.
“We just played our game,” Reese said. “We all work together, share the ball and shoot the shots we know we can hit. We played unselfish.”
The unselfish play earned Lincoln Prep, 7-1, a spot in the Nelson Division semifinals against Lee’s Summit, 3-2, at 6 p.m. Monday.
“I can’t wait,” Lincoln Prep coach Sean Pearson said. “I told the guys this year we want to try to be in some big games. This is a big game against Lee’s Summit and Drew Lock. I am just excited to see how we play.”
On Friday, Lincoln Prep was a bit sluggish in the first minute, giving up baskets to junior Dezmond McDaniel and junior Jeremi Barnes for a 4-0 deficit.
“We were a little flat,” Pearson said. “I called a timeout to get them regrouped and get them focused. We had yesterday off because of Christmas. The first couple of minutes you could tell that. We got our heads into the game and got after it.”
The Tigers went ahead 8-6 on a basket by junior Mylan Collins and added to it on another basket by senior Micah Smith.
O’Hara, which dropped to 6-3, fought hard to stay close. The Tigers pulled to one at 13-12 on a basket by junior C.J. Naudet.
The Tigers put together another mini spurt for a 20-14 lead late in the first quarter. At halftime, Lincoln Prep led 38-30 and extended it to 58-43 after three quarters.
“They played together as a unit,” Pearson said. “They worked the ball around and got the best shot for the team. They weren’t out there doing something for themselves.”
Collins and Smith each scored 18 points for Lincoln Prep and sophomore Steve Dudley added 15.
Sophomore Arinze Mgbemena led O’Hara with 22 points, going 10 for 12 from the field. Junior Nick Naudet added 16.
Lee’s Summit 84, Oak Park 51
Senior Drew Lock drilled two long three-pointers and followed with a two-point field goal, staking Lee’s Summit to an early six-point lead against Oak Park.
The Tigers kicked it into an even high gear the rest of the first quarter zoomed to victory.
Lock scored 14 points in only 8 minutes of action in the first half. When he went out early in the second quarter with two fouls, the Tigers kept on scoring, building a 34-7 lead. Junior Blake Spellman and senior Aaron Washington combined for 16, first-half points.
“Our one and two guards are phenomenal,” said Lock, who finished with 20 points on nine-of-11 shooting. “You can look at our guards coming off the bench and you can see any of those guys could start. It helps out a lot.”
Lee’s Summit went into halftime with a 42-22 lead and was never challenged in the second half.
A highlight for Oak Park was the outside shooting of freshman guard Kaden Evans, who knocked down four three-pointers and finished with 12 points. Marvin Joseph led Oak Park with 21 points.
Raymore-Peculiar 58, North Kansas City 28
Raymore-Peculiar used the inside muscle of junior James Sappington and senior Ben Harris and defeated North Kansas City in the opening game.
Sappington and Harris combined to score 19 of the team’s 29 first-half points, which gave the Panthers a 29-12 halftime lead in the Nelson Division game.
The domination by the Panthers continued into the third quarter as they expanded their lead to 49-14.
“I felt like we had the size advantage and that our guards did really well feeding us,” said Sappington, who finished with 15 points.
Park Hill 85, Grandview 55
Park Hill entered the second quarter trailing by three but then scored 24 of the next 26 points against Grandview and took a 13-point lead into halftime.
The Trojans maintained control the rest of the game. Park Hill, 6-1, will play Raymore-Peculiar at 4:30 p.m. Monday in the Nelson Division semifinals.
After trailing 12-9 in the first quarter, Park Hill quickly found its stride in the second. It started with a basket by senior Landry Shamet followed by a three-point play by senior Cartor Anchors that gave the Trojans a 14-12 lead.
During the 24-2 run, senior Louis Reinmiller knocked down three three-pointers. The Trojans’ lead grew to 33-14 lead late in the second quarter.
“We just had a lot more intensity in the second quarter,” said Reinmiller, who finished with 13 points. “Before, we were a little bit slow. We didn’t rebound well. We gave them second opportunities. In the second quarter, we came out and played a lot harder.”
Reinmiller was one of six Trojans who scored in double figures. Shamet let the way with 18.