Tuesday, Mar. 05 2013 1:03PM
By Stephen Bubalo
Special to the Journal
Michael Schieber had a pretty simple explanation of what happened during the Class 5, District 13 championship game between his Lee’s Summit West squad and Rockhurst March 1.
In a game featuring two of the top teams in the state, nobody expected what took place at Lee’s Summit West.
As Schieber would put it afterward, “They took it to us.”
After a close first half, the Hawklets began pulling away, making the Titans look nothing like the team that came in with a 21-4 record that included wins over Blue Springs South and Columbia Hickman. Rockhurst won the game 60-42.
“The biggest thing was that we lost every statistical category,” Schieber said. “You can’t do that and win. They outworked us, outplayed us, outhustled us and outcoached us. They were tremendous.”
Where the Titans really seemed to struggle was on the offensive end.
West has been an impressive offensive team this season, blending quickness and athleticism on the perimeter with strength down in the post.
But Rockhurst made life tough on the Titans, especially in the second half.
After missing some quality looks in the first half, West seemed to get impatient in the second half as the open looks became tougher to come by.
“We weren’t getting ball reversals,” senior Trevor Gregory said, who along with Ryan Williams and Jarred Dixon led the Titans with eight points. “We were trying to attack so much. We focused more on scoring instead of how to score.”
Trailing 26-21 at the half, West actually cut the deficit to 34-32 in the third quarter before an 8-2 run by Rockhurst to close the quarter gave them a 42-34 edge.
The Hawklets expanded on that lead early in the fourth quarter, going ahead 49-38. Desperation for the Titans kicked in, as they proceeded to attempt three-pointers on five of their next six possessions.
None of them went in.
“We started to try and get back in it with one shot,” guard Ryan Williams said. “That’s not going to happen.”
“We were stagnant,” Schieber said of the offense. “We had a number of plays in the first half that we missed and didn’t finish. In the second half we relied on three’s. We were 1 of 16 in the second half from three. You can’t do that.
“We wanted to reverse the ball and attack but we got stuck.”
Meanwhile, Rockhurst was beginning to get easy looks as the game wore on. During the 8-2 run, all four baskets were layups. As they got into the lane more, that opened up the outside for two big three’s in the fourth quarter.
“We didn’t stop penetration. When they got in the paint they scored,” Gregory said.
A prime example of the Hawklet’s dominance in the second half was rebounding, a category West won in the first half handily with seven more rebounds. By the final buzzer, Rockhurst had a six-rebound edge for the game.
“Try and think of any 50-50 ball we got in the second half,” Schieber said. “We didn’t get any.”
The loss brought an abrupt end to what had the makings of a special season. The Titans finished with a 21-5 record and three tournament titles – the Raymore-Peculiar, William Jewell College Holiday and Culver’s Tournaments.
For the five seniors, a return trip to the Final Four was not to be, while the returning players have plenty of motivation for next season, as far away as it may seem right now.
“I hope the young kids can learn from this. We have a lot of coming back next year,” Schieber said. “And the seniors have had back-to-back 20-win seasons. They won some high-level tournaments. They’ve had a heck of a year. They have a lot to be proud of.
“It just hurts when it’s the end.”