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Road to state: Revisiting the 2017-18 boys basketball season
For the third consecutive season, the boys varsity basketball team is headed to the state tournament in Wichita. Take a look back at this season with brief recaps detailing how they got there.
March 8, 2018
Huskies open year with victory over Rams
Friday Dec. 1, 2017: Blue Valley Northwest 70 Hogan Prep 62
The Huskies open the 2017-18 campaign with an eight-point win over Hogan Prep. Senior guard Sam Ward ties his 21-point career-high in the win. Head coach Ed Fritz sees a flaw in the team’s play, and says Ward played exceptionally.
“We turned the ball over a lot more than a typical Blue Valley Northwest team does,” Fritz says after the win. “Sam really gave us a lift. He’s a really good shooter. He did a really good job of getting us in our sets.”
Defensively, the Huskies have trouble with the Rams’ senior guard Damien Daniels, who scores 23 points. Still, they open the season with a win before heading to Springfield, Mo. for the Ozark Mountain Shootout.
Braun brothers lead Huskies to double-digit win over Ozark
Friday Dec. 8, 2017: Blue Valley Northwest 73 Ozark High School 56
In the first game of the Ozark Mountain Shootout the Huskies flex their muscles over a smaller Ozark High School team. Senior forward Parker Braun scores 17 points and junior guard Parker Braun scores 13 points in the win.
Despite the Huskies’ lead being trimmed to 48-45 late in the third quarter, BVNW was able to pull away early in the fourth quarter to get the win. Senior guard Sam Ward added 21 points for the second consecutive game and knocked down a 3 near the end of the third quarter which keyed an 8-0 run, and gave the Huskies a firm 56-45 lead which they would hold onto for the win.
Parker declares the Huskies ability to play through adversity.
“I just think we all came back to kind of our old roots,” Parker says after the game. “We know how to handle it.”
Second half troubles hand BVNW first loss
Saturday Dec. 9, 2017: Hazelwood Central 55 Blue Valley Northwest 50
In the second game of the Ozark Mountain Shootout, Blue Valley Northwest matches up against Kansas State commit Shaun Williams and Hazelwood Central. The Huskies control the game for the majority of it, but fall apart in the fourth quarter with turnovers and poor offensive execution. Junior guard Christian Braun, who scored 13 points in the first half, goes quiet with just 2 points in the final 16 minutes of play, fouling out in the five-point loss.
“First half I was way more aggressive than I was in the second half,” Christian says after the loss. “They started pressuring us and we didn’t do a good job of getting it past half court and that’s partially my fault, should’ve gotten the ball but I just wasn’t as aggressive.”
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Turnover trend spells trouble for Huskies as they falter against Titans
Turnover trend spells trouble for Huskies as they falter against Titans
Saturday Dec. 16, 2017: Lee’s Summit West 57 Blue Valley Northwest 52
The Huskies travel to Avila University for a neutral-court matchup with the No. 1 team in the metro according to 810 Varsity. Although Oklahoma State commit Yor Anei’s impact is negated by foul trouble, the Huskies show struggles with turnovers for the second game in a row, something head coach Ed Fritz says is concerning.
“We gotta get better at that. If we could’ve controlled the guards and controlled the turnovers, everything was going our way.”
The 23-turnover performance displays an alarming trend of poor ball security by the BVNW guards, and wipes away senior forward Joe Pleasant’s 22-point, 13-rebound double-double in the loss.
Huskies continue rivalry domination with win over Mustangs
Wednesday Dec. 20, 2017: Blue Valley Northwest 69 Blue Valley North 58
In the first installment of the 2017-18 matchups between BVNW-BVN, the Huskies edge the Mustangs by an 11-point margin. Despite scoring just 3 first half points, senior guard Sam Ward explodes for 19 in the second half, and the Huskies cruise to a 69-58 win over their rivals.
“I’m trying to keep this tradition that we always beat them,” senior forward Joe Pleasant says after the game. “I’m not trying to lose to them anytime soon.”
The Huskies 69-58 win snaps a two-game losing streak for the Huskies and extends a winning streak against Blue Valley North to six games.
Panthers upset Huskies in 810 Varsity Showcase Session I
Saturday Jan. 6, 2018: Park Hill South 56 Blue Valley Northwest 52
With 2:33 remaining in the third quarter a layup by junior guard Christian Braun extends the Huskies lead to 42-27, but a 23-2 Park Hill South run gives the Panthers a 50-44 lead that the Huskies fail to regain. Ranked No. 20 in the 810 Varsity metro Top 25, the Panthers upset by No. 3 Blue Valley Northwest with a 56-52 win in Session I of the 810 Varsity Showcase at Saint Thomas Aquinas.
Despite the Huskies matching their loss total of the entire 2016-17 season in the first six games of the 2017-18 campaign, junior guard Christian Braun says he is not worried.
“We just gotta stay together, play as a team, and we’ll end up fine,” Braun says. “It just might take a while.”
BVNWnews file photo
Huskies sweep season series with Mustangs with road win
Friday Jan. 12, 2018: Blue Valley Northwest 65 Blue Valley North 48
The Huskies go on the road and defeat Blue Valley North for the second time this season. For the second time in two matchups, senior guard Sam Ward leads the Huskies in scoring during their game against the Mustangs, scoring 18 points in the win. The win marks the third-straight year in which Blue Valley Northwest has swept the season series with Blue Valley North.
BVNW falls to Grandview, drops to 4-4 on the season.
Saturday Jan. 13, 2018: Grandview 58 Blue Valley Northwest 53
In the second session of the 810 Varsity Showcase, hosted by Lee’s Summit High School, the Huskies matched up with the Grandview Bulldogs. BVNW lead 39-35 heading into the fourth quarter, but GHS outscored the Huskies 23-14 in the fourth quarter to win 58-53.
“I think we kinda gave them the tempo and played their game which obviously didn’t end up well,” senior forward Parker Braun, who went for 14 points and 5 rebounds in the loss, says.
The loss dropped the Huskies record to 4-4.
Huskies roll through first two rounds of Border Classic
Thursday Jan. 18, 2018: Blue Valley Northwest 76 Blue Springs 56
Friday Jan. 19, 2018: Blue Valley Northwest 52 Olathe Northwest 38
A slow start offensively for the Huskies found them leading Olathe Northwest 4-3 after the first quarter, but eventually the Huskies would take control against the third-ranked team in Kansas Class 6A. With four losses on the season, the Huskies were ranked No. 4 in 6A heading into this matchup but controlled the pace of the game throughout.
For the duration of their matchup with the Ravens, senior forward Parker Braun denied plenty of offensive opportunities ONW was presented with.
“The defensive side is my side,” Parker said. “I love that side of the ball.”
The Huskies 52-38 win gave them a two-game winning streak and improved their record to 6-4 for the season.
Christian Braun dominates tourney final, Huskies roll Purple Dragons
Saturday Jan. 20, 2018: Blue Valley Northwest 68 Pittsburg High 41
From the very start of the Border Classic tournament final, junior guard Christian Braun put his handprint on the game. In what was effectively a true road game, Braun silenced the Pittsburg High student section with a 27-point, 8-rebound performance, hitting stepback 3-pointers, half-court heaves and driving for dunks throughout the game. An offensive switch from head coach Ed Fritz puts the ball in Braun’s hands more often, allowing him to assume the role of point guard and dictate the Huskies offense.
The Purple Dragons, one of the top teams in Kansas Class 5A proved to be no match for the Huskies, as the Huskies won by 27 points despite senior forward Joe Pleasant leaving the game with a leg injury.
Fritz gets win No. 600 as BVNW defeats STA
Saturday Jan. 27, 2018: Blue Valley Northwest 69 St. Thomas Aquinas 46
Head coach Ed Fritz picks up his 600th career victory in a 69-46 win over St. Thomas Aquinas. Fritz downplays the accomplishment calling himself lucky.
“It just means that I’ve been around a lot and had a lot of good coaches, a lot of good players and a lot of good people to be around,” Fritz says.
Showing the offensive versatility of the team, four different Huskies score in double-figures as the Huskies move to 8-4 with the win.
Huskies cruise past KC East
Tuesday Jan. 30, 2018: Blue Valley Northwest 87 KC East High School 28
Senior forward Parker Braun goes for 26 points and 10 rebounds as the Huskies dominate a Tuesday night matchup with KC East. Senior forward Andrew Lind gets extended playing time and scores the first points of his career, finishing with 6 points in the win.
“I’m in the Northwest history books and happy to get 6 points,” Lind says.
Dunk clinic helps Huskies pick up EKL win over BVSW
Friday Feb. 2, 2018: Blue Valley Northwest 67 Blue Valley Southwest 18
The Huskies open their Eastern Kansas League matchup with Blue Valley Southwest on an 18-3 run and never look back. The game is a dunking clinic soon to be seen on BVNW Top 10, as senior forwards Parker Braun and Joe Pleasant rattle the rims throughout the 49-point win.
“I think we’re at the point where we’re starting to click now,” Pleasant says.
BVNW completes revenge tour with upset of Bishop Miege
Tuesday Feb. 6, 2018: Blue Valley Northwest 56 Bishop Miege 39
Going up against a Bishop Miege which swept them in 2016-17, Blue Valley Northwest goes into Roeland Park and pulls off an upset based on the 810 Varsity Metro Top 25 rankings. Blue Valley Northwest entered halftime trailing 25-24, but the Huskies came out swinging offensively in the second half as senior guard Sam Ward hit a couple big 3-pointers during a third quarter that saw the Huskies outscore the Stags 20-5, and build a 44-30 lead.
“I thought we should’ve had a big lead at halftime,” Fritz said. “We didn’t capitalize.”
The BVNW zone defense stifles highly-touted Miege junior forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, holding him to just 6 points.
The Huskies cap their revenge tour with wins over St. Thomas Aquinas and Bishop Miege, the only two schools they lost to in 2016-17. It also gives the Huskies a two-game advantage in the conference race.
“I know a lot of us really came in wanting revenge,” senior forward Joe Pleasant said after the win. “We didn’t like the fact that they got us twice last year, and we wanted to come in and show them what’s up this year.”
BVNW shuts down BVW in Sweetheart game
Friday Feb. 9, 2018: Blue Valley Northwest 60 Blue Valley West 32
An efficient offensive night coupled with great defense shuts down Blue Valley West during the Huskies’ Sweetheart Game. In the first half, Blue Valley Northwest misses just one shot, building a 39-15 lead at half. Senior forward Joe Pleasant, who scored 14 points in the win, says the team is clicking offensively at this point.
“I feel like everyone’s getting involved,” Pleasant says. “We’re getting good looks, and we’re just hitting [shots].”
Huskies roll past Jaguars
Tuesday Feb. 13, 2018: Blue Valley Northwest 62 Mill Valley 25
The Huskies stifling defense shuts down Loyola Chicago commit Cooper Kaifes and the Mill Valley Jaguars. After Kaifes lit up the BVNW defense in last year’s season-opener, the Huskies hold him to just 8 points on this night, cruising to a 62-25 win. Senior forward Parker Braun, an AAU teammate of Kaifes falls just one rebound short of a double-double with 16 points and 9 rebounds.
Huskies secure outright league title with road win
Friday Feb. 16, 2018: Blue Valley Northwest 56 Blue Valley 27
Senior forward Joe Pleasant powers a dominant win for the Huskies, as they wrap up an outright Eastern Kansas League championship with a 56-27 win over Blue Valley. Assistant Zach Harsch says Pleasant is a force to be reckoned with.
“He’s playing confident,” Harsch says. “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.”
Huskies finish regular season on 12-game winning streak
Wednesday Feb. 21, 2018: Blue Valley Northwest 76 KC Northeast High School 41
Friday Feb. 23, 2018: Blue Valley Northwest 56 St. James Academy 23
The Thunder are able to keep the game close with good defense and perimeter shooting in the first quarter, but eventually the Huskies pull away for another blowout win on Senior Night. The 33-point win also secures an undefeated record through EKL play, and an outright title by a two-game margin over Bishop Miege.
Postseason play opens with dominating win over Gardner Edgerton
Wednesday Feb. 28, 2018: Blue Valley Northwest 77 Gardner Edgerton 34
The Huskies have no trouble with their first round sub-state matchup. Freshman guard Jack Chapman uses an efficient night from behind the arc and good offensive rebounding to score a career-high 20 points in the first game of postseason play. In addition to Chapman, senior guard Max Johnson posts 13 points which is good for his career-high.
“Really it was just guards making plays for me, getting me wide-open shot after wide-open shot,” Chapman said. “I got a few offensive rebounds it really helped out, it got me quite a few open shots, and I was just lucky to hit them.”
Huskies clinch third-straight trip to Wichita
Saturday March 3, 2018: Blue Valley Northwest 67 Shawnee Mission West 36
For the first time in nearly a month, the Huskies are challenged by an opponent, and find themselves in a 25-25 tie at halftime of the sub-state final. In the second half, BVNW outscores SMW, 42-11 and clinches a trip to Wichita for the third-straight year. With the win, the Huskies extend their winning streak to 14 games as they head to the state tournament.
“I’m really, really enjoying it this year,” senior forward Joe Pleasant says. “I know a lot of us seniors have been talking about since our freshman year waiting our turn and senior year we could finally make the run.”