Thursday, Jan. 17 2013 1:49PM
Lacking the key
Ruskin outperforms Lee’s Summit in semifinals
By Stephanie Yeagle
Missing senior forward Alex Evans due to injury may have been the missing key to a Lee’s Summit victory in the consolation semifinals against Ruskin Jan. 16 in the Culver’s Classic at Lee’s Summit.
Instead, Ruskin outrebounded, outhustled and overall outperformed the Tigers in a 67-52 victory.
“I think we definitely missed him (Evans),” Lee’s Summit head coach Keith Miller said. “The rhythm of the game and what he offers. I think Alex is our second leading scorer and probably our leading rebounder as well and a good defender for us. We did miss him. But we have other kids that are capable and as a team, those guys should have stepped up and got his slack and we didn’t do that. Hopefully we can work that out and get ready for the next game, which is right around the corner.”
The Eagles took a quick 29-9 advantage at the end of the first quarter, but Lee’s Summit fought back to close the gap to 36-24 at halftime.
Ruskin came out in the third quarter firing on all cylinders again, staring with a 7-0 run to take a 43-24 lead. After a Lee’s Summit basket by junior guard Grant Robbins, the Eagles sunk a three-pointer. Junior Tiger guard Landen Croteau was fouled, hitting both free throws, but Ruskin went on a 4-0 run next to lead 51-28. The Eagles led 55-35 going into the last eight minutes of the game.
“(We had a) lack of effort on both ends of the floor,” Miller said. “I thought we were selfish offensively. I didn’t think we worked hard. We just kind of gave up on our effort. We didn’t play hard and we got beat by a good team. Ruskin is good.”
In the fourth quarter, after a Lee’s Summit three-pointer by senior guard Dan McElroy, Ruskin responded with a basket. Lee’s Summit came back with a basket apiece from senior forward Ian Burch and senior guard Jaylon Irvin, but the Eagles retaliated with a shot of their own to make the score 60-42.
Lee’s Summit freshman guard Blake Spellman hit a three-pointer and a basket in a row to make the score 60-47 and the Tigers started to foul Ruskin, hoping to take over possession. But the Eagles hit three out of seven free throws and a basket by the end of the game to seal the victory.
The Tigers, 5-8, were led in scoring by Spellman with 11 points and followed by Robbins with nine points. Croteau had seven points and Drew Lock had six points. McElroy added five points and Matthew Crance, Austin Buhr and Irvin had four points each. Burch added two points.
Lee’s Summit faces Southwest Early College Campus in the seventh place game at 4 p.m. Friday.
“We have to figure out what we need to do to get ready for Friday and bounce back,” Miller said. “We have been playing really good basketball. Today was just not very good.”