The Bank Midwest Holiday tourney at William Jewell did not disappoint this year as we saw teams such as Kickapoo (Springfield) and Grandview win titles again, while power teams from the metro advanced to semi final games only to fall short. Coach Larry Holley’s tournament has a state tournament feel with a venue and environment that is one of the better ones in KC for high school hoops.
This year turned out to be one that matched-up many of our top ranked teams (seven of our top 10 in KCMO played) and there were not only some surprises (Grandview beating Rockhurst and then hammering Liberty) but also many close games that ended with buzzer beaters such as the O’Hara tip-in win on Wednesday and half-court winner by Lee’s Summit West to beat Columbia Rockbridge the same night.
There were many top individual performances such as Bulldog senior RJ Leverette’s 31
against Blue Springs, Kickapoo’s Ryan Rippee’s multiple 20+ games, Dillon Deck’s 31 against Raytown & double/double vs Fort Osage and Park Hill South’s Christian Hildebrandt’s 27 on Tuesday. This week was also our first chance to see teams such as Kearney (defending Nelson champ in 2009) and St. Joe Central who have both struggled a bit early but look to have pieces. We also got our first look at 6’6″ senior Jallen Messersmith who has been putting up good numbers for Blue Springs all season. Looking at all three divisions:
Cardinal: Kickapoo (Springfield) won this division after close wins over Blue Springs South and then O’Hara in the final and now stands at 11-0 as one of the power teams in all of Missouri. We were impressed with the strength of the Chiefs, without Missouri State commit Christian Kirk (who is ineligible), in forwards Ryan Rippee and Tyler Hall. They beat a previously undefeated O’Hara team (that escaped Park Hill South in their semi) after taking control in the third quarter in what was anyone’s game at the half. O’Hara is now 8-1 as the final came down to the Chief’s size and ability to handle the pressure of the Celtics, but we continue to believe that O’Hara has the best back-court in Kansas City with Jevon Lyle and DJ Jackson (who had 26 in the final). Blue Springs South guards, senior Darrion Geiger and junior DJ Booker, both played extremely well in this division as did Christian Hildebrandt and Ricky Benson for Park Hill South.
Cardinal All-Tourney Team
DJ Booker – Blue Springs South
Tyler Hall – Kickapoo
Christian Hildebrandt – Park Hill South
DJ Jackson – O’Hara
Jevon Lyle – O’Hara
Ryan Rippee – Kickapoo (MVP)
Patterson: We expected this bracket to be a showdown between Rockhurst and Liberty, but Grandview’s Khalil Davis and RJ Leverette pulled the upset of the Hawklets in the semis and then completely dominated the Bluejays Thursday night. In the end, Liberty could not hit shots and Grandview’s bigs controlled 6’8″ Denton Koon (who is headed to Princeton) inside. Grandview looks like a team that could only get better with young players such as Leverette’s freshman brother Jawan Emery, Davis and freshman 6’7″ Nelson Nweke who have all been able to make up for the departure of senior Tyler Rambo (who has moved to Texas). The Bulldogs took an early lead in the final and never looked back. Koon averaged 13 points and 9 rebounds in three games and was key in the Bluejays two point win over Park Hill the night before, but could not get things going in the 54-38 loss. The third place game ended up to be a great one too with PH’s Chris Nsenki (20pts) and 6’3 Rock senior Clarence Kirkwood (23pts) going at it before Rockhurst outscored the Trojans by 12 in the final quarter and won 65-61.
Patterson All-Tourney Team
Khalil Davis – Grandview
Pat Jones – Rockhurst
Denton Koon – Liberty
RJ Leverette – Grandview (MVP)
Jordan Lewis – Liberty
Chris Nsenki – Park Hill
Nelson: The shot of the tournament occurred in the semis of the Nelson when Lee’s Summit West’s Shaq Harrison hit a half-courter to beat Columbia Rockbridge 52-51. The next night, the Titans appeared to be in trouble after falling behind by 15 with Truman’s guard trio of Antonio Winn, Zach Large and Darrien Harris combining for 30 points in the first half. But West was led all week by Harrison, sophomore Trevor Gregory and junior Nathan Jackson and they got back into the game before taking control in the 4th quarter. One of the great things about Coach Holley’s tournament is the teams coming in from other areas. Columbia Rockbridge is a program that likes to travel and St. Joe Central came over for games as well. The tourney allowed both programs to show-off talented sophomores in Travis Jorgenson (5’9″ PG) who had 7 points, 7 assists and four steals for CRB in the game we saw, and Shun Williams (6’5″ PF) who had 16 against Blue Springs South. Smithville’s Deck returned to the team after an early season hiatus and certainly made a bid for Nelson MVP with averages of 23 points, 10 boards and 4 blocks.
Nelson All-tourney team
Dillon Deck – Smithville
Austin Hill – Ray-Pec
Shaq Harrison – Lee’s Summit West (MVP)
Nathan Jackson – Lee’s Summit West
Travis Jorgenson – Columbia RB
Zach Large – Truman
Top Three in Three Divisions
1st – Grandview, Kickapoo, Lee’s Summit West
2nd – Liberty, O’Hara, Truman
3rd – Blue Springs South, Ray-Pec, Rockhurst