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Posted On: 01/28/18 11:24 AM
Lee’s Summit West Titans would host for the second game in a row, one of its crosstown rivals, but this time it was the Lee’s Summit Broncos coming to town. Like last game, the Titans would have their hands full in another close and hard fought game. The Broncos had their moments where they looked like the might blowout the Titans on their home floor. The Broncos got up by as many as 15 in the third quarter, but the Titans, led by Rich Johnson would storm back and pull within 1 point late in the 4th. A couple of big stops and some big free throws made by Javaunte Hawkins and Mikel Henderson would seal the game for the Broncos. The final was 80-74. Rich Johnson led all scorers with 29 points while Javaunte Hawkins led the Broncos with 26 points.
Broncos: The Big 3
The Lee’s Summit North Broncos have had their share of ups and down this season, but they were able to pull together and play one of their better games of the year on Friday night. This Bronco team sitting at 9-8, has really been successful when “The Big 3” have played well. When I say the big 3, I am talking about the 3 returning starters from a year ago, and all 3 are averaging well into double figures. Javaunte Hawkins has continued to impress this season and doesn’t look to be stopping anytime soon as he put together another solid night on Friday. Hawkins knocked down some big free throws to help seal the game Friday night and shot 9-10 from the line. The Junior Guard, averaging better than 20 ppg this season, led the Broncos with 26 points (five 3’s) and 5 steals to help his team to victory. Senior Wing/Guard Logan Jenkins has been no slouch as he continues to shoot the ball really well especially from deep. He had a few huge hustle plays including a late rebound in the first half which allowed him to add a couple more points to the Bronco lead. Jenkins also had a killer crossover in the 4th quarter that turned around a Titan defender and gave him enough space to knock down a momentum stealing 3. Jenkins finished the game with 17 points. The last of the Big 3 is Elijah Farr who has really put together a great senior campaign. Farr was all over the place Friday and at times it looked like he couldn’t be stopped on either side of the ball. He has tremendous footwork in the post and when he takes it strong to the rack, he is nearly impossible to stop. Farr had some big buckets, but also hit the boards really hard Friday night. Farr finished the game with a big time double double…20 points and 14 rebounds.
Titans: Rich Johnson
The one guy who really kept the Titans in the game on Friday wasn’t Christian Bishop, but it was Junior Guard Rich Johnson. It took Johnson a half to really get it going, but once he hit a couple of shots in the second half, his confidence grew and he never really looked back. After the Broncos grew a 15 point second half lead, Johnson knew that he would have to step up his game in a hurry if the Titans had any chance of winning the game. So he did just that, Johnson started taking control of the game, and if he got an open look, he was taking the shot. At one point, Johnson really caught fire and knocked down 7 of 8 shots. He got the Titans within 1 late in the 4th quarter, but it just wasn’t quite enough to win the game. Johnson had 22 of his 29 points in the second half.
Lee’s Summit North’s Mikel Henderson
One player who isn’t talked about enough is Bronco’s guard, Mikel Henderson. Henderson played around half the game due to being in foul trouble. He picked up two quick ones in the first quarter, a quick one in the second quarter, a quick one in the third quarter, and somehow still kept from fouling out. Due to the foul trouble, Mikel wasn’t able to provide much help to the Bronco team until the fourth quarter, but when the game was on the line, Henderson was the go to man. With the lead cut to less than 5 points, the ball seemed to start finding Henderson’s hands. The Titans had to try and play tight defense which either led to a foul and free throws, or it lead to Henderson blowing by his man and getting an easy bucket. Henderson shot 4-5 from the line and scored all 9 of his points in the 4th quarter.
Lee’s Summit West still not at full strength
It didn’t go unnoticed on Friday that the Titans were without a couple of their starters as they have been now for most of the season. Big man Yor Anei was suspended early in the season and has missed some big time recently, and Senior football star Mario Goodrich has found himself on quite a few football visits lately. Anei was dressed up and sitting at the end of the bench while Goodrich was out of town on one of his last visits. Senior star Christian Bishop has come across a few minor injury problems this season which has caused his playing time in some games to decrease, but that wasn’t the case on Friday. Bishop had a huge 1st quarter which is the main reason the game was close in the first half. He scored 9 of the team’s 13 points in the first period. He had 3 huge dunks which were momentum shifts, but after the big quarter, he really took a backseat. He was only able to score 6 more points the rest of the night which brought his total to 15 points.
Suburban Gold Conference outlook
The Suburban Gold Conference has been all over the place, especially lately with some close games and a few upsets. Since we are now halfway through conference play, we can now see that most of the teams are fairly even, and anyone can beat anyone. The Broncos haven’t been the most consistent team and will have some making up to do if they want to finish in the top half, while the Titans started out strong but have lost their last two. It will be interesting to see if the Titans will be at full strength come the end of the season, and if the Broncos can become a more consistent team. This could be the first of three meetings between these teams, and hopefully all of them are as exciting as Friday’s matchup.