With less than 30 seconds left and a three-point lead against Olathe East, Shawnee Mission North buckled down on defense like it did in the first half as they held on for a 55-51 victory.
Olathe East’s Jake Reynolds tried making it a one-point game, but 6-foot-5 Jarrett Hensley played rim protector like he did so often in the first half as he swatted Reynolds’ attempt. Avante Williams grabbed the ball and was fouled with eight seconds left. All he needed to do was make one free throw to seal the game.
SM North 55, Olathe East 51
Av. Williams- 19
Am. Williams- 9
He connected on one and whatever happened on Olathe East’s next possession didn’t matter. A made basket with less than five seconds remaining, SM North would be able to run out the clock without inbounding the ball because the Hawks didn’t have a timeout remaining.
Indians coach Steve Stitzer called timeout with about three seconds remaining as the Indians knocked the ball out of bounds. He wanted to make sure his team didn’t foul on a three-point attempt to potentially give Olathe East a four-point play opportunity, which would have sent the game to overtime.
SM North got out to a fast start as they went on an 8-0 run in less than two minutes that spanned the first and second quarters to give them a 12-point lead. They expanded the lead to 14 at half.
“Our press defense —22 — our coach wanted to get in it so we could start out with intensity like we did so we can get some turnovers and get going down the court and get us moving around,” Williams said.
The Indians were flying around the court as they disrupted or changed Olathe East’s shots and were tough on the glass as they limited second-chance opportunities. Williams said the defense has been really slow, so they’re trying to speed it up by using presses in hopes of creating havoc.
Stitzer wished his team could play all four quarters like they did in the first half. Olathe East chipped back little by little until it was a one-possession game. Olathe East was able to force SM North to turn the ball over in the second half as the Indians weren’t able to get much going offensively like they did in the first half.
“That trap did it too us,” Stitzer said of Olathe East’s defense. “It’s good that we win a game and we face that. Hopefully we’ll be better at it the next time. We quit attacking and that’s what the problem was. We have to keep attacking the basket even though we do have the lead. I think that’s what the difference was in the second half.”