Ottawa boys squeak past North
Playing its first game in three weeks but its first without leading scorer Zach Wheeler, the Shawnee Mission North boys basketball team turned in its best all-around performance of the season Tuesday night.
It wasn’t quite enough, however, as Ottawa rallied for a 47-43 victory at the OHS gymnasium.
“We played really well, especially in the first half,” Indians coach B.J. Hair said. “We had a six-point lead at halftime. But we had a little patch early in the third quarter, the first three minutes, where we had several turnovers and didn’t play real well.”
That proved to be the difference. Well, that and Cyclones standout Adam Hasty who scored a game-high 18 points.
Even so, North used a 14-3 run to close the second quarter and take a 28-22 lead at halftime.
The rough spell early in the third quarter proved costly for North, however. With Wheeler sidelined with a broken foot (he’s out at least until Jan. 20), the Indians struggled to find an answer as the Cyclones stormed ahead.
North refused to go away. After falling behind it regrouped and rallied once again, trimming an eight-point deficit to two with 40 seconds left.
“We had a chance with the ball and couldn’t get anything out of it,” Hair said. “We had to foul, and they hit two free throws and we threw it away.”
Despite the narrow loss, Hair was pleased with his squad’s overall performance and called it another step in the right direction. At 5-0, Hair noted Ottawa has been a force this season.
Jermaine Rollins led the Indians with 13 points. Filling in for Wheeler, Ryan Finazzo scored 8 points and grabbed six rebounds. Also for North, Kyle Goodburn and O.J. Shields scored 8 points apiece, and Arthur Rucker, Jacob Hodge and Bryan Wood each had 2.
North (0-5) next plays at 7 p.m. Friday at Olathe South. The Indians again will be without Wheeler, but they also will be without Rollins who will be attending a funeral for a death in the family.
Hair said Rollins’ absence would make an already difficult game that much more challenging, but he said he expects his team to play hard and make Rollins — a senior leader — proud of their effort.
“I think they’ll rally around him and definitely play inspired,” Hair said.