Thursday, Feb. 07 2013 12:51PM
Lee’s Summit turnovers turn into loss to Liberty
By Ryan Weaver
Special to the Journal
It wasn’t the way the Lee’s Summit Tigers drew it up, and it definitely wasn’t the way they wanted the last 14 seconds to go.
Coming out of a timeout with 14 seconds left and down 73-70, Drew Lock threw the ball inbounds toward Blake Spellman. Spellman took a peek up court before gathering the ball and Liberty’s Kellan Turner swooped in for a steal and layup. Lock’s next inbounds pass also went to Turner, who ran out the clock for a 75-70 Liberty win.
“I don’t think we focused very well,” Lee’s Summit head coach Keith Miller said. “We had a plan, we kind of changed it a little bit and then we didn’t react, we weren’t hypersensitive enough to what was going on and turned it over. It was a mental mistake.”
Turnovers cost the Tigers big time as they coughed it up 18 times, including at crucial points in the fourth quarter.
Lock gave the Tigers a 68-65 lead at the 2:35 by making a layup and a free throw after getting fouled. The Tigers wouldn’t score again for a two minute, 18-second stretch and gave up the lead.
Turner answered Lock’s three-point play with a three of his own, and then Lock tried a full-court pass that got picked off. Liberty converted two from the line to take a 70-68 lead and never gave it up.
“We’re making mental mistakes still down the stretch,” Miller said. “It’s kind of like the movie ‘Groundhog Day.’ We’re doing the same thing over and over again and we need to learn to take care of the ball and be a little more alert at the end of the game and play with a sense of urgency. I think we’re lacking that a little bit.”
The Tigers fell behind early, as much as 12 in the first half, but they crawled back in the second half.
“We gave up way to many easy points,” Miller said. “We’d shoot long shots and they’d just convert those into easy baskets if we missed.”
Lee’s Summit went 5-for-14 from three-point range in the first half, including three from Lock. He finished with 28 points on the night.
In the second half, the Tigers shot mostly from around the rim, either by driving or feeding the post. Forward Alex Evans scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half.
Behind 56-50, Michael Crance started a 15-6 run that spanned the first four and a half minutes of the fourth quarter by converting a traditional three-point play. Evans followed with two from the line and Jaylon Irvin scored in transition to give the Tigers a 57-56 advantage.
Irving connected on a three from the corner to counter a Liberty basket for a 60-58 lead, but then Liberty scored the next four points to go up 62-60. Evans answered back with four points of his own and Josh Maddox added a free throw for a 65-62 lead with 3:30 left.
In the waning moments of the game, Liberty left the down open for the Tigers, missing the first of two free throws with 14 seconds..