The Blue Valley Northwest boys basketball team struggled to get into a rhythm early with missed alley-oops and fancy dribbling that ended in turnovers.
And the same issues seemed to plague them in the waning moments as they watched a 20-point lead disappear.
However, they did just enough in between to secure a 66-53 victory on the road against Eastern Kansas League foe St. Thomas Aquinas on Friday night.
“All year long, we have played well in spurts and then we just shut down for a while,” Huskies coach Ed Fritz said. “It’s really hard for us to make adjustments and we’re working on it, but I’m proud we were able to come back and win comfortably.”
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The game seemed all but over in the second half when Darien Jackson’s backboard-shaking dunk pushed the lead to 17 points and Jamichael Morgan added a three-pointer, but the Saints did not back down. They pieced together a 16-2 run to get back in the game and matched the Huskies basket-for-basket down the stretch before Jackson sealed the victory.
Jackson scored six consecutive points, with a 5-for-6 performance from the line, and pushed the lead back to double digits despite being down a starter after Joseph Pleasant fouled out. Ten of his game-high 25 points came in the final quarter.
“Darien is very explosive when he wants to be, and he had to understand that when he is dribbling he has to go to the basket instead of playing with it,” Fritz said. “That screwed him up for a little while.”
Jamichael Morgan and Joseph Pleasant joined Jackson in double figures with 12 and 11 points for the Huskies.
Ben Hagenkord led the Saints with 17 points, which included four three-pointers, and Angelo Allegri added 16.
“We are still in first place in the EKL and that is huge for us,” Fritz said. “We’ve got only one senior, and so it’s promising, but we’ve got to do a better job.”