Tigers top Liberty in regular season finale

dmcqueen@lsjournal.comMarch 5, 2014 

Before they began district play this week, the Lee’s Summit boys got a reminder of the importance of staying with the game plan.

The Tigers didn’t do that at the start of their Feb. 28 against Liberty, and it put them in danger of ruining their senior night. But once they all got back on the same page, the Tigers were able to overcome and early 11-point deficit and pull away to a 73-62 victory in the regular-season finale at Lee’s Summit.

“If you would have looked at our game board before the game, the two things we had to do was get ball reversals on offense and stop their transition,” Lee’s Summit coach Blake Little said. “And in the first quarter, we were able to do neither of those things.”

The inability to stop Liberty’s full-court offense put Lee’s Summit in a 14-3 hole halfway through the first quarter. The Blue Jays, who hit five of their first six shots, tallied 11 of those 14 points with transition baskets.

But when Lee’s Summit put the brakes on Liberty’s offense, and then started making passes to set up good shots, the game soon turned in the Tigers’ favor.

“We had to stop their run,” Little said. “We can’t just run back and forth with them. But once we stopped their transition things went well for us.”

Lee’s Summit clawed back within 16-9 by the end of the first quarter and 30-25 at the half. The Tigers then put together a 12-2 run midway through the third quarter and never trailed after that. Jordan Bennett scored eight of his 17 points during that stretch and senior Bruce Bias, who led all scorers with 19 points, chipped in four.

“I just wanted to play my hardest in my last game on my home floor,” Bias said. “I’m just proud of my teammates tonight.”

Bias’ big night was one of the highlights for Little, who said the senior guard had been battling ankle problems since January.

“He sprained his right ankle twice and his left ankle once in that stretch tying to come back,” Little said. “This is the first time he’s been close to 100 percent. When he’s back and playing in rhythm it gives us a new dynamic that really opens things up for everyone else.”

Leading scorer Drew Lock also reached double figures for Lee’s Summit, finishing with 13 points, 12 of them in the second half.

Lee’s Summit hoped to continue that dynamic this week in the Class 5 District 13 tournament at Raytown. The Tigers met Raytown in the first round March 4.

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