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Hawklets Make Championship Game, But Come Up Short in BSSD Tournament

Rockhurst won its first two games, but couldn’t top Staley in finale.
Evan Newman
Senior guard Luke Johnson cuts in front of a Staley player during their Blue Springs School District Tournament game on Dec. 9, 2023. Rockhurst came back from a double-digit deficit in the 3rd quarter to tie the game, but fell short 49-41.

The Rockhurst basketball team placed second in the Blue Springs School District Basketball Tournament this past weekend, losing in the championship game to the reigning state champion Staley Falcons.

The tournament began Dec. 7 for the Hawklets as they played Bentonville (Ark.). The Hawklets rode a balanced scoring attack, as well as lockdown defense, to a dominant 61-31 win.

“We were playing with a chip on our shoulder after Tuesday’s loss [against Olathe West],” said junior Callen Eskew, who led the team in scoring with 11 points. “I guess we never took our foot off the gas and that’s a testament to our will to win and how cohesive we are as a group.”

After Eskew’s 11 points, Andrew Sprague had ten, Max Moylan had eight, and Kevin Sullivan also had eight. Defensively, the team had nine deflections and seven steals.

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The Hawklets advanced to the semifinals to play Blue Springs South on Friday. The Jaguars had beaten SLUH the day before to the tune of 52-43. The team was confident going into the game.

“We saw their tendencies in the film room and when we watched them play on Thursday,” said Moylan, a sophomore guard. “We believed that we had a good chance to win if we played how we played against Bentonville.”

The Jaguars played a scrappy game, forcing Hawklet turnovers with their aggressive defensive style. But in the end, Rockhurst was able to make the plays needed to win the game. Senior Braden Lamley sealed the game with two free throws with 6.9 seconds remaining to give Rockhurst the 51-46 win and the right to play in the championship game.

“We practice shooting free throws every day,” said Lamley. “I actually enjoy it more when there’s some pressure riding on them. That game was a lot closer than it needed to be, which was a wake-up call to our team.”

The Hawklets were led offensively by Sprague and Eskew who both had ten points and led defensively by the backcourt of Cohen Robinson and Luke Johnson who combined for four deflections, three steals, two blocks and one charge taken.

Rockhurst faced the Staley Falcons in the tournament championship game on Saturday. Staley, who went 30-2 last year, won their first two games of the tournament by 21 and 32 points, respectively. Nevertheless, the Hawklets were ready for the challenge.

“Coach had been preaching since the start of the tournament to believe in ourselves and trust our talents,” said Johnson. “We all wanted that game real bad and we knew it was a chance to show the city what we were capable of.”

The Hawklets were down 28-15 at half, but a 3rd quarter where they scored on every offensive possession but one had the game knotted at 36 with five minutes left to play. Rockhurst was unable to complete the comeback though, as they fell 49-41.

“It ended up coming down to one or two possessions,” said senior guard Cooper Scott. “Obviously we want to win that game, but to go toe-to-toe with a team like that and come away with second in the tournament, it shows our team’s potential and how much harder we have to work to accomplish what we want to accomplish.”

The Hawklets will play Blue Springs, who lost to Staley in the semifinal round 79-47, Tuesday at Rockhurst. The team will then play Raytown their last home game of the semester on Friday. SGA has branded the game the “Silent Night Game,” where the home crowd wears Christmas sweaters, is silent until a certain point total is reached and sings Christmas songs during the game.


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About the Contributor
Eli Rourke, Staff Reporter
I’m a senior member of the Prep News Staff. I joined Prep News at the recommendation of fellow staff reporter, Mitch Forbes. I attended elementary school at Cure of Ars in Leawood, Kansas. This is my first year as a Prep News Staff Member. I joined Prep News because I want to know more about my community and maybe inform Rockhurst students about the happenings in and around the building. Outside of writing for the newspaper, I am a member of the basketball team, a Freshman Retreat Co-Chair, and an NHS Officer. I’m currently undecided on where I want to attend college. However, I am interested in studying finance.
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