With nearly 7 minutes remaining Saturday in the penultimate game at the Hy-Vee Shootout, Blue Valley Northwest junior point guard Clay Custer went to the bench with four fouls.
At the time, the Huskies led Nixa, which is ranked No. 2 in Missouri Class 5, by only one point — a lead that seemed to be in jeopardy without Custer.
Turns out, it wasn’t as BV Northwest pulled away for 48-41 win at Avila’s Mabee Fieldhouse.
Fellow junior Vince Fritz — who father, Ed, is the Huskies’ coach — switched from power forward to floor general for the undersized Huskies, 3-0, and, by the time Custer returned with 3:11 remaining, the lead actually had grown.
Junior Ben Richardson, who made all three of his tries from long range, sank a three-pointer during Custer’s absence. That shot, along with a handful of free throws, buried Nixa.
“Obviously, it’s a concern when Clay goes to the bench, but we came together and proved we can handle it,” said Vince Fritz, who finished with 10 points and four steals.
Nixa, 4-1, opened the game on fire, drilling its first six shots, but BV Northwest led 15-13 thanks to an active defense that harassed the Eagles into 19 turnovers, which offset Nixa’s hefty 30-18 edge on the glass.
Midway through the second quarter, off one of those turnovers, Custer threaded a 30-foot, no-look pass between two retreating Eagles defenders to Fritz for an old-fashioned three-point play and a 24-18 lead.
Foul trouble, however, caught up with BV Northwest as Nixa scored 17 of the next 23 points, seizing a 35-30 lead late in the third quarter.
“We were in a little bit of foul trouble,” said Custer, who along with Richardson and fellow junior Kyle Harrison had picked up two fouls. “… It got a little sloppy, but we trust all our guys.”
Custer, who finished with 18 points, answered the Eagles’ run with a personal 8-0 spurt that bridged the third and fourth quarters before going to the bench.
BV North 47, Rockhurst 46
Blue Valley North capped the four-day high school hoops showcase by stunning Rockhurst 47-46 on Matt McHugh’s whirling layup with 8 seconds remaining.
The lead changed hands four times in the fourth quarter, none bigger than when McHugh spun off Hawklets defender Mike Jones on the right block and scored, leading BV North students to stream onto the court.
“They guarded that last play pretty well,” McHugh said. “I just had to make a play. I struggled from the outside tonight, but getting that last one to drop feels really good.”
The Mustangs, 3-1, trailed by three points entering the final minute, but senior Scott Edwards’ driving layup at the 30-second mark made it a one-point game.
When Tom Keller missed the front end of a one-and-one, BV North had its chance – and made it count.
Junior forward Jawan Emery led the Mustangs with 14 points, and Edwards finished with 10. Jones scored 14 for Rockhurst, and senior Kyle Wolf added 11.
Unlike Katt Williams’ scheduled appearance in Kansas City this weekend, there’ll be no need for refunds for the Semi Ojeleye Show.
Ojeleye, a senior forward for Ottawa who signed with Duke, had 32 points and nine rebounds in a 59-34 win against Grandview.
He didn’t have a great shooting night — hitting nine of 24 overall, including a three for nine from three-point range — but the Bulldogs, 4-3, still had no answer for Ojeleye when he went inside.
Ottawa led 29-20 at halftime and extended its lead early in the third quarter, opening the second half with a 7-0 run.
“We had a 20-point lead on a team when we went out to Goodland and let them come back on us, so we wanted to focus on putting them away coming out of halftime,” Ojeleye said.
Ojeleye, who scored 21 in the first half, slipped a screen for a backdoor dunk on the first possession and drained a wide-open three-pointer off a Grandview turnover, kicking off the spurt.
Trailing at halftime, Liberty North needed a spark at the offensive end against McPherson.
Senior Nadhir Daughtery, who scored a game-high 16, provided it with 10 third-quarter points as the Eagles rallied for a 44-32 win.
“I’m proud of him, because we challenged him at halftime,” Liberty North coach Chris McCabe said. “He didn’t play the way that he’s capable of in the first half, but he was more aggressive (in the second half).”
Daughtery opened the third quarter with eight straight points, including two three-pointers and a layup off a steal at halfcourt.
Liberty North, 5-2, pulled in front to stay early in the fourth quarter when senior Jake Hanson’s three-pointer sparked a 10-1 run that turned a 28-27 deficit into a 37-29 lead.
Fellow senior guard Zach Starr added back-to-back baskets, the second off a perfect feed from Hanson for a backdoor layup, before Daughtery splashed a three from the right wing to finish the spurt.
The Bullpups, 3-1, never drew closer than five the rest of the way.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to <a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a>. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.