Varsity Basketball

Heights falls in interstate battle

KANSAS CITY, Mo. —The game was billed as the best of Missouri against the best of Kansas.

The setting was ideal, played at Avila University in Kansas City, located right on the state line.

And for the most part, Columbia Rock Bridge's 75-70 victory over Heights on Saturday night fulfilled its promise.

"This was a great test for us," Heights coach Joe Auer said. "The only reason we agreed to do this was to challenge ourselves a little bit. We would have liked to have been fully-manned, but with the inexperience out there, I thought this was one of our best efforts."

Though never commanding, Heights protected a lead for the majority of the first three quarters. The Falcons led 35-28 at halftime and led by two entering the fourth quarter.

"I thought they were very good," Rock Bridge coach Jim Scanlon said. "Their guards are really good with the ball. They're very hard to guard."

The Bruins sagged in a 2-3 zone that dared the Falcons to shoot from outside and made Heights big man Perry Ellis a moot point for most of the game. Ellis finished with 21 points and seven rebounds.

Early on Heights capitalized, making five three-pointers in the first half. E.J. Dobbins had three of those.

"But with them clogging it up like that, we had to give it to our wings and they had to find a way to knock it down," Heights' Dreamius Smith said. "It worked sometimes, but most of the time they cut it off."

Consider that the by-product of playing six players 6-foot-3 or taller. Rock Bridge's length height didn't lead to dominance (25-24 rebounding advantage and two blocks), but it altered several shots in the lane by Heights' guards.

Rock Bridge leaned heavily on 6-foot-6 guard Ricky Kreklow, a Missouri recruit, to create offense. Many of Kreklow's game-high 25 points came on off-balanced jumpers.

"If he can see the rim, he felt he was open," Auer said. "We haven't played against a kid that is that aggressive hunting down his shot."

For three quarters, the Falcons were able keep the Bruins from doing what they do best — running. Last season, Rock Bridge finished 27-3 and third at state in Missouri's largest classification largely because of its high-powered offense.

"I thought we did a great job of keeping them out of what they like to do," Auer said, "until the fourth quarter."

That's when Heights ran out of steam. Rock Bridge took control of the game with a 14-2 run and never let Heights get back within six.

"We just had a mental breakdown in the fourth quarter," Dobbins said.

Rock Bridge (Mo.) 14 14 24 23 — 75 Wichita Heights20 15 19 16 — 70

ROCK BRIDGE: Jorgenson 2 1-1 6, Kelly 6 1-1 14, Kreklow 9 3-3 25, Millard 2 0-0 4, Parks 4 2-2 10, Ross 0 0-0 0, Miller 2 1-2 6, Echelmeier 1 0-0 2, Henderson 1 0-0 2, Duffeck 3 0-1 6. Totals 30 (7) 8-10 75.

HEIGHTS: Dobbins 5 1-2 14, Smith 9 1-2 20, Moore 5 0-0 11, Riley 0 0-0 0, Ellis 7 7-8 21, Countee 0 0-0 0, Bradley 0 0-0 0, Cross 1 0-0 2, Brickhouse 1 0-0 2. Totals 28 (5) 9-11 70.

Lee's Summit North 72, Maize 56 — Maize stayed competitive in the first half, trailing 28-23, but Lee's Summit North (Mo.) powered its way to a victory by using 48 points in the paint.

It was the Eagles' first loss of the season after winning their first five. Maize was led by a combined 31 points from guards Luke Langley and Ryan McCarthy.

Lee's Summit North, which did not qualify for the state tournament last season in Missouri's Class 5A, shot 67 percent (16 of 24) in the second half to outscore Maize by 11. Maize shot 37 percent for the game.

Lee's Summit North16 12 22 22 — 72 Maize14 9 12 21 — 56

LEE'S SUMMIT NORTH: Berry 4, Dunbar 20, Harrington 0, Salazar 17, Kravish 18, Nicholas 0, Lewis 13. Totals 27 (2) 16-23 72.

MAIZE: Sturgeon 2, Langley 16, Davis 5, Schultz 9, Lee 4, McCarthy 15, Hammack 2, Hosman 3, Wolgamott 0. Totals 19 (6) 12-16.

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