By Craig Hull
Special to The Globe
CARL JUNCTION, Mo. —
Jay Corwin and the Blue Springs Wildcats made it 2-for-2 in trips to Southwest Missouri.
Corwin, the Wildcats 6-foot-5 senior guard, earned his second Most Outstanding Player Award on Saturday as Blue Springs earned its second Mercy Sports Medicine CJ Classic tournament crown with a 78-65 victory over Carl Junction.
The Wildcats swept the three-game, four-team classic at the Carl Junction High School Gymnasium as their senior playmaker averaged 19.6 points per game in tournament play.
In Saturday’s first game, Carthage got a season-best 28 points off the bench in a 71-53 victory over Seneca.
Blue Springs, 78-65
Concerns about shooters fatigue and playing an overtime thriller late Friday night made Blue Springs coach Adam Jones turn his offensive focus toward the post Saturday.
“I told our guards we had to get the ball on the inside,” Jones said. “As much credit as I can give our big guys for scoring, the a lot credit goes to Walter (Sorrells) who handled their pressure and got the ball inside.
“We (Walter and I) had been at odds with each other coming into this tournament, but he grew a lot this weekend. I saw him mature dramatically. I give him a lot of credit for the way we played.
“We needed these three games, too, a tough three games before we get into conference play.”
Corwin scored eight his game-high 17 in the first quarter. Cody Isabel, a 6-5 junior forward, Brian Armstrong, a 6-2 left-handed sophomore forward and 6-5 sophomore forward Nick Alvarado combined to score 23 points in the post for the Wildcats (9-5).
Sorells added 11 points, Justin Pruitt paced the bench production for the Wildcats with 15 and Armstrong had 10.
“The difference in this game was defensive rebounding. We gave them too many second-shot opportunities and they hurt us on putbacks,” said Carl Junction head coach Kyle Williams said.
Carl Junction (6-6) was led by junior guard Gaige Crockett’s 16 points. He scored 14 of his 16 in the fourth quarter including a perfect 12-for-12 effort from the free throw line. Travis Vogt came off the bench to score 14 for the Bulldogs.
The Indians’ Seth Harris hit a pair of free throws with 3:58 remaining in the third quarter for a 38-34 Carthage lead. Seneca would not score again until a Logan St. Clair layup with 6:46 remaining in the game.
The 5 minute, 12 second scoring drought allowed the Tigers to build an insurmountable double-digit lead.
“When you look at Seneca, they are so difficult to guard. They don’t possess a true post, they have so many good shooters, you have to account for (Kyler) Ng, Harris and (Bradley) Jumper,” said Carthage head coach Steve Ray. “Our focus was to force them to make shots over the top of our defense, try to limit their penetrate and pitch game and rebound when they missed.”
Carthage stretched the lead with Levi Saving who converted a 3-point play, Anthony Turk drilled his fourth 3-pointer, Dawson Allmoslecher connected on a 3-pointer from the left elbow to end the third quarter before Saving started the fourth quarter with a deep 3-pointer from the left corner and Cory Prevost added a pair of free throws to make it a 52-34 game.
“I hate to use that (three games in three days and the legs going out from the shooters) as an excuse, but there was some of that and then there was Carthage who did a good job defending us and coach (Steve) Ray got them prepared for this one,” said Seneca head coach Will King. “Yes, we didn’t get the shots to fall that we got to fall in the first two games, but their defense had something to do with it.”
Turk, a 6-foot junior guard, led Carthage (7-11) with 12 points, all on 3-pointers, off the bench. Nathan Reid and Allmoslecher added 11 each.
Seneca (11-6) got 11 each from Harris and Ng, St. Clair added 10.