Nobody saw this coming. Not Lee’s Summit West coach Michael Schieber. And certainly not Park Hill South.
This was supposed to be a battle between the frontrunners in the Suburban Mid Six Conference. A showdown between two of the top teams in the Kansas City area.
Instead, it turned out to be a beatdown.
Playing in front of a raucous and spirited crowd at its home gym, Lee’s Summit West pounded Park Hill South 63-42 Feb. 18 and moved into a first-place tie with the Panthers in the league standings at 6-1.
“Sometimes things go right for a group and we had a lot of good things happen for us tonight,” Schieber said.
And how. West, 19-3, picked apart the 2-3 zone that frustrated it in a 61-53 loss to these same Panthers back on Jan. 31. The Titans enjoyed balanced scoring from both inside and long range, hampered the Panthers, 17-5, with a pressing defense that forced several break-producing turnovers and swatted away shots near the basket.
And they were properly motivated, too.
“We came out with something to prove, said West guard Gary Davis, who led the Titans with 17 points. “Winning conference is a big thing for us, and we just felt like we had to defend our house because we’re not used to losing here.”
Winning the Mid Six has been a big goal for the Titans this season, and they knew if that was to happen they would have to avenge their loss to Park Hill South. The Panthers, like the Titans, have solid guards and size and leaping ability under the basket. What they didn’t have, Schieber believed, was the same sense of urgency.
“It was a game we had to win,” Schieber said. “Even with this loss they still control their own destiny as much as we do. Right now it’s win or we lose a conference championship. Every game matters.”
West led 15-11 after the first quarter, and then started pulling away from there. Davis scored 11 points with two three-pointers in the period as the Titans zeroed in their outside range.
By halftime the Titans were up 33-22, and they poured it on with a 13-2 run to start the third quarter. At times the Titans would patiently move the ball and find the open shot. At other times they pushed it up the floor for transition baskets.
“I thought the big thing was we got the tempo more to where we wanted it,” Schieber said. “The last time we played, the game was totally played at their tempo. I thought tonight we did a good job of changing that over and being able to get out in transition and attack them.”
Besides Davis, West also got double-digit scoring from Jarred Dixon with 14 points and Monte Harrison with 12. Harrison also had eight rebounds and four emphatic blocks. Harrison also helped put the clamps on Park Hill South’s high-flyer, 6-foot-6 center Evan Hines. Hines had 10 points, but only two after halftime.
A statement win? Perhaps. But that doesn’t meet the Titans don’t have anything more to say.
“It’s one game. It’s over with.” Schieber said. “We have to get back to the basics of what we do and continue to get better.”