Blue Valley Northwest clinches outright EKL title with 56-27 win over Blue Valley

The varsity boys basketball team defeated Blue Valley High School 56-27 at BVHS Friday Feb. 16. Senior Joe Pleasant went for 19 points and 9 rebounds in the win.

Gabe Swartz, Editor-in-chief

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For the second consecutive year the Blue Valley Northwest varsity boys basketball team are the Eastern Kansas League Champions. After claiming a four-way tie with St. Thomas Aquinas, Bishop Miege and Blue Valley North last season, the Huskies clinched an outright title for the 2017-18 season with a 56-27 win over Blue Valley High School on Friday night.

“I think it’s huge,” senior guard Max Johnson said. “We hate sharing it with anybody so this year for us to get it by ourselves is amazing.”

Early on for the Huskies it was senior forward Joe Pleasant who provided the offensive spark, scoring eight of the Huskies first 12 points. The Huskies would jump out to an early 12-0 lead with stifling zone defense and good offensive execution.

“I think the zone kind of confused them at first,” head coach Ed Fritz said. “We did what we needed to do to kind of extend the lead.”

The Huskies zone defense has helped them shut down opposing teams throughout their run to the league championship this year. In the Huskies seven EKL games, opponents are averaging just 33.6 points per game against them. Johnson said he feels the pressure created by the defense is something opposing guards just are not ready for.

“I think we just come out with a lot of pressure and intensity to start each game and a lot of guards aren’t ready for that,” Johnson said.

While a pair of Tiger 3-point baskets cut the Huskies lead down to five early in the second quarter, a step-back 3 with 1:41 remaining in the half by junior guard Christian Braun silenced the BVHS student section and gave the Huskies a lead that they extended coming out of the half.

While the Huskies took a 27-16 lead into the break, they extended it to 41-19 when senior guard Sam Ward hit a corner 3 in transition with 2:21 remaining in the third quarter.

The second half saw Pleasant add to his stat line as the Huskies senior big man finished with 19 points and 9 rebounds, falling just one board shy of a double-double. When asked about what aided his success, Pleasant was interrupted by assistant coach Zach Harsch.

“He’s playing confident,” Harsch said. “He knows he’s the man. Nobody can stop him. He’s got inside-out game. He’s slippery. He’s tough. He’s Joe Pleasant.”

With the win, the Huskies improve their record to 14-4 for the year. They travel to KC Northeast High School Tuesday Feb. 20 for their next game. Still, Pleasant and the Huskies say the team cannot look to far ahead.

“Well, you gotta take it one game at a time,” Pleasant said. “It’s nice to have those big goals in mind, but we’ve just gotta take it one game at a time. Stay in the present.”