Turnover-filled night downs No. 4 Huskies in 57-52 loss to No. 1 Lee’s Summit West

Blue Valley Northwest lost their second consecutive game, losing 57-52 to Lee’s Summit West at Avila University Dec. 16. Senior forward Joe Pleasant scored 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the loss.

Gabe Swartz, Editor-in-Chief

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Almost a year of anticipation for a matchup between two of the best teams in the Kansas City metro area culminated Saturday night when the No. 1 ranked Lee’s Summit West Titans and No. 4 ranked Blue Valley Northwest Huskies battled in the Cable Dahmer Shootout at Avila University. Just as was the case last Saturday in the Huskies 55-50 loss to Hazelwood Central, turnovers plagued the Huskies in their second-consecutive loss.

Head coach Ed Fritz said given how the game played out, the turnovers were what really held the Huskies back.

“Well you know Sam [Ward] and Joe [Pleasant] and Christian [Braun] had 20 of the 23 [turnovers], so we gotta get better at that,” Fritz said. “If we could’ve controlled the guards and controlled the turnovers, everything was going our way.”

The problem for the Huskies was that they could not control Lee’s Summit West’s guards, as Titans junior guard Rich Johnson went for 20 points and senior guard Mario Goodrich scored 11. The 23 BVNW turnovers helped the Titans score 24 points, and outscore the Huskies on fastbreaks 16-4. Fritz said the Huskies anticipation for this game had no effect on their turnovers, as it was the same story as last weekend.

“I don’t think we were juiced up in Springfield and we still turned it over there,” Fritz said. “We go into the game, we’re averaging 13 assists and 17 turnovers, it went up today.”

Early in the first quarter senior guard Sam Ward stepped in front of a Lee’s Summit West pass for a steal and pulled up from distance to knock down a 3 with 6:47 left on the clock. Ward’s early 3 gave the Huskies a 5-0 lead, which turned out to be the largest lead of the night for Northwest. The Titans responded with a 7-2 run to even the score and controlled the game for the majority of the evening.

Despite matching up with the size of Titans 6-foot-11 senior forward Yor Anei, the Huskies saw great production from their bigs throughout the game. Senior forward Joe Pleasant went for a double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds, while his teammate Parker Braun scored 9 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Pleasant and Braun neutralized Anei, holding him to just 6 points, and relegating him to the bench for much of the night with foul trouble. Anei, who is committed to Oklahoma State, fouled out with 6:34 remaining in the game.  

The Huskies trailed the Titans 46-38 with 5:55 left in the fourth quarter but were able to cut the deficit to 50-48 when Pleasant drove to the hoop and got a layup and a foul with 3:05 remaining. Senior guard Max Johnson picked off the ensuing inbounds pass, but the Huskies were unable to convert on opportunities down the stretch to lose 57-52.

“We played really hard and we rebounded the ball really well,” Fritz said, as the Huskies outrebounded the Titans 33-16. “The effort I can’t fault anything and we’re playing hard. We just need to cut some mistakes out… once we do that we’re as good as any team around.”

With the loss, the Huskies record drops to 2-2. Blue Valley Northwest takes on Blue Valley North Wednesday Dec. 20 at BVNW. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.