There was good news and bad news that came out of Tuesday’s high school basketball games.
A bevvy of players scored at least 20 points, and a few scored more than 30. But one shot was the highlight of the night.
Here are five takeaways:
Mocaby for the win
Derby coach Brett Flory drew up a play his team had never run before, not even in practice.
Off the inbounds pass with 2.9 seconds left, Tyler Brown dribbled down the court. Emilio Valentin set a screen for Bryant Mocaby, who came to the top of the key, caught a pass, shot and scored the game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer.
The Panthers escaped with a 63-62 victory, and Mocaby left with the shot of his life.
Mocaby said he wasn’t worried about the time on the clock. He was going to take his shot as quickly as he could without doing anything out of the ordinary, and it just came down to executing a play they had never seen before.
“It might be tough for some people, but we have a lot of trust in our coach and our coaching staff,” he said. “We knew this was the right play.”
The shot was important in Derby’s run at an AV-CTL I title. Having won their fifth straight, the Panthers are tied atop the league with Maize.
“This one felt a lot sweeter because we had to work eight more minutes,” Mocaby said.
Barnes out 2-4 weeks
Southeast coach Melvin Herring said senior Israel Barnes could be out for the rest of the season.
Barnes suffered an ankle injury in the GWAL/AV-CTL Challenge on Jan. 13 but played through it. He played in the Buffaloes’ midseason tournament where he scored 69 points in three games, including 38 in the final.
The Buffaloes are taking it “day-to-day” with Barnes but were told he could be out 2-4 weeks with the injury, Herring said.
Herring said though he admires Barnes’ persistence, playing through the injury made it worse.
“It went from being a severe sprain, to tearing the ligament, to all the way down to his pinky toe,” he said.
Barnes leads the City League in scoring, averaging 25.7 points. Missing that production will be hard down the stretch, Herring said, though the Buffaloes have not lost since Barnes has been out.
“We’ve got the pieces,” Herring said. “But when you lose 30 points, it allows the other guys to step up and play as a team, and that’s the most fun part about it now.”
West won’t give up
The Pioneers only have one win on their record, but they put together one of their strongest defensive performances of the season Tuesday.
West lost to City League leaders Southeast 55-44, but it was the second-fewest points allowed this season. Coach Michael Lewis said there is no quit in his guys.
“Since I’ve been here going on four years, we’ve come to realize that we may not have that much firepower,” he said. “But one thing teams can’t take away from us is our grit and our moxie and our toughness. Our kids have come a long way.”
West was coming off a 44-point loss at Heights.
Although Southeast was without Barnes, Lewis said he was impressed with the defensive effort his group showed.
“What we’re trying to do is change the culture here at West,” he said. “Our kids have gone through so much in their individual lives.… They’re not quick to give up.”
Kapaun closes in on 100
Coach John Cherne said he knew success was on the way at Kapaun.
The Crusaders beat North 92-70 in the biggest offensive burst in the area Tuesday night. Cherne said his teams tend to get hot late in the season.
Kapaun has now won seven of eight. Last season the finished with wins in eight of their last nine games.
“I knew we were gonna struggle a little it early on,” Cherne said. “But the kids were communicating tonight and hitting shots, and that goes a long way.”
Kapaun looks at four key statistics: turnover percentage, free throw percentage, field goal efficiency and offensive rebound efficiency.
The coaches load those stats into a spread sheet and dictate practice on what the formula gives them. For a while, the Crusaders focused on transition defense, which helped Tuesday against North point guard Jackie Johnson.
“And then we hit shots,” Cherne said. “It was an anomaly. It was a blurb. I hoped we’d play well, but we had to have shot the ball 50-60 percent.”
Undersized beats unhealthy
In the first quarter of Andover Central’s road test against Maize South, Jacey Washington made a play that summed up the game.
Off a missed layup, Washington jumped for the rebound. Maize South’s Bryce Wiedemann was there.
It didn’t matter.
Washington ripped the ball away and scored. He came up to Wiedemann’s shoulder in height, but Andover Central coach Jesse Herrmann said his guys played with fire in their 79-66 victory.
Junior Easton Leedom led the way for the Jaguars. He scored 28 points, including hitting four three-pointers.
“The flick was going in tonight,” Herrmann said.
Maize South has been without two major pieces since mid-January: its tallest player and its leading scorer.
Mavericks coach Kip Schultz said he is looking forward to getting his team fully healthy after losing four of the past five games.
“We don’t really have to work that hard to make them play hard,” he said. “I felt like tonight we gave an outstanding effort; we just came out on the short side.”