Here are five takeaways from the past week of the Missouri side high school winter sports season. Records are through Monday’s games.
1. The Suburban Red Conference boys basketball season began on Jan. 26, and for the Liberty Blue Jays, it couldn’t have come at a much worse time.
Or so it seemed.
The Blue Jays rode a six-game losing streak into their conference opener, but league play has served as the cure to those ills.
Liberty has opened its conference schedule with four straight wins — kickstarted by a 60-59 victory against Park Hill in the opener. It followed with wins against Ruskin, Truman and St. Joseph Central.
Liberty made 10 three-pointers in the victory Friday against St. Joseph Central. Sophomore Jalen Lewis drained three, and seniors Max Graham, Mason Stirtz and Hal Tyson each made two.
2. In the final wrestling dual tournament of the regular season, Park Hill backed up its No. 1 state ranking.
The Trojans bested a talent-rich field at the Elite 8 dual championships at Battle High School in Columbia. They defeated third-ranked Jefferson City 31-28 in the finals match after a 38-24 win against No. 10 Staley in the semifinals.
Park Hill, the three-time defending state champions in Missouri Class 4, used wins from Sean Hosford (145 pounds), Thomas Lisher (152), Canten Marriott (170), David Ambriz (220), Kelvin Eblen (106), Josh Steele (113) and Weston DiBlasi (126) in the championship match.
3. And speaking of defending state wrestling champions...
Oak Grove, which won the 16th state championship in school history last February, dominated its own Panther Classic over the weekend, winning eight weight classes.
The Missouri Class 2 school totaled 249 points in the eight-team varsity field. Fort Osage was second with 144 and Blue Springs third with 131.
Oak Grove junior Connor Brown (120 pounds) kept his record perfect. He has not lost since his freshman season and is gunning for his third straight state championship.
Senior Landon Cairer won the 170-pound weight class. Cairer broke Oak Grove’s all-time pins records last week, surpassing 100 for his career.
4. The Lee’s Summit boys basketball team’s undefeated season is still alive, but only by the slimmest of margins.
Blue Springs South, the defending Missouri Class 5 champions, supplied the Tigers their biggest scare yet Friday before Lee’s Summit escaped with a 99-89 victory in double overtime.
The Jaguars, 13-6, had a chance to win the game on their final possession in the initial overtime period but couldn’t convert.
Blake Spellman poured in a game-best 37 points for Lee’s Summit, making four three-pointers. Senior KJ Robinson had 31 points, and senior forward Briley Moore-McKinney scored 25 for the Jaguars.
5. Lee’s Summit North is the last unbeaten girls basketball team left standing in the Suburban Gold Conference. A quick start Monday ensured that much.
In a battle of two teams with 4-0 league records, Lee’s Summit North defeated Blue Springs South 51-45 on Monday.
Aiyana Johnson led the Broncos with 20 points.
Lee’s Summit North, 13-6, has won three straight games and is 9-2 in its past 11 games.