Second team provides spark for St. James in victory against SM North
Shawnee Mission North High and St. James Academy met in the first round of the Sports Care Public Vs. Private Shootout at SMN on Thursday, with SJA edging the Indians 64-55.
The Thunder used an 18-4 run in a five-minute span during the second quarter to build a 10-point lead at halftime.
SJA found itself in an early 8-0 hole three minutes into the game and coach Stan Dohm called timeout and subbed out his entire starting lineup, as he was looking for a spark of energy.
“(It was) our second game in a row those guys came out a little flat, not a lot of energy,” Dohm said, referring to a loss on Dec. 6 to Ottawa. “That’s what we talked about for three days was having energy and playing with passion. I was going to play the guys that did.”
Dohm told his team after the game that the second unit changed the whole momentum around.
It started with Joe Ebel, who scored all nine of his points in the first half, knocking down three three-pointers. Dohm said Ebel is a confident shooter, and was able to find some open spots on the floor as North went to a 2-3 zone.
“Hopefully we don’t have to shoot 60 percent from three to win games,” Dohm said.
The Indians cut the lead to six at the end of the third quarter and went on an 8-0 run in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter to take a two-point lead on a Scott Johnson jumper in the lane.
SMN coach Steve Stitzer said his team had to expend a lot of energy just to climb back into the game.
“Here’s the big deal for us: If I put my subs in, they have to go in and produce,” Stitzer said. “When I subbed in the first half, they have to do their part. If we get in that position, we need them to step up.”
Stitzer applauded his team’s effort, acknowledging it “takes heart” to get back into the game, but said it’s the second game in a row where his team has been in foul trouble, including Johnson, who was just limited to 15 minutes.
Jackson Hinton and Marcus and Michael Weathers were also in foul trouble with both Weathers boys fouling out.
During the second 8-0 run, Michael Weathers threw down a dunk for two of his eight points that seemed to bring some life to the home crowd.
But as soon as the Indians took the lead, St. James reclaimed it on a Nick Frank three pointer, which gave the Thunder the lead for good.
Johnson tried leading his team back, scoring eight of his game-high 17 points in the final six minutes, but SJA’s Dylan McKee was automatic from the free-throw line down the stretch, connecting on seven of eight from the line in the final 2:25 to close the game out.
“(Johnson) got away from us,” Dohm said. “He played only five or six minutes in the first half. He got in foul trouble and that was a key contributor to the second quarter because he wasn’t playing much.”
Stitzer thought Jackson being sick really hurt his team as his production, or lack thereof, showed. He scored no points and had three rebounds.
Marcus Weathers scored 12 points for North, while Frank added 11 for St. James.
St. James finished fourth after losing to Center (Mo.) in the third-place game. SMN lost in the fifth-place game to Jefferson City-Helias (Mo.).
The Thunder travel to Avila to play Lee’s Summit North tonight, while Shawnee Mission North doesn’t play again until Jan. 7 at home against Olathe North.