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Jewell Classic Recaps, Semifinals

By 810 Varsity, 12/29/23, 9:30PM CST


Northland teams strong again with NKC, Oak Park, Staley in finals

The 44th annual William Jewell Holiday Classic tipped on Wednesday morning, with three eight-team divisions of Missouri high school boys teams.  

Action continues through the weekend, with third-place and title games wrapping on Saturday. Here’s a look at the semifinals on Friday night, as each final features a team from the Northland. The Jewell Classic had clean sweeps in the last two seasons by Northland teams in 2022 (Oak Park, Park Hill, Staley) and 2021 (North Kansas City, Staley, Liberty).

Holley Division

North Kansas City 56, Raymore-Peculiar 51 

For the third straight year since Ed Fritz took the helm at North Kansas City, the Hornets will play for the Jewell Classic title.  

The Hornets, ranked No. 4 in the 810 Varsity Top 25, overcame a slim 30-28 halftime deficit for a 56-51 win over Raymore-Peculiar in the semifinals of the Holley Division on Friday night. Xavius Kirkwood led the way with 14 points, while Herb Bass added 11. North Kansas City held Ray-Pec to just nine points in the third period to take the lead for good. 

Cannon Northcraft paced the Panthers with a game-high 16 points, while Holden Kephart and Ashton Jermain chipped in 11 apiece. Raymore-Peculiar will take on Liberty in the third-place game on Saturday. 

The Hornets (8-1) will take on Battle (Columbia) in the title game at 7:30 pm on Saturday. North Kansas City won the Nelson Division title in 2021, then lost last year to Park Hill in the final, 62-61.  

Battle 76, Liberty 58 

The Spartans have made their first trip from Columbia to the Jewell Classic smooth sailing so far. Battle coasted through the Holley Division semifinals over Liberty, 76-58, and set up a matchup with North Kansas City in the final. 

Battle scorched the nets in the first half with 16-of-19 shooting from the floor - including 4-for-6 from behind the arc - for a resounding 43-20 halftime margin. Tate McCubbin scored a game-high 25 points for Battle, who opened with a 78-55 romp over Pembroke Hill in the first round. 

Zachariah Aganovic led the Blue Jays with 13 points, while Kale Mortimer chipped in nine. Liberty will take on Raymore-Peculiar in the third-place game at 1:30 pm on Saturday. 

Patterson Division

Oak Park 73, Central 56 

For a moment, Central almost made the Northmen seemingly break a sweat it their quest for a second straight Jewell Classic title.  

The Eagles took on the No. 1 team in the 810 Varsity Top 25, and top-seeded team in the Patterson Division, and stayed tight after a quarter at 19-17. Oak Park pulled away at halftime for a 40-29 deficit, but Central fought back behind the backcourt tandem of Timothy Wooden Jr’s 25 points, and Brandon Moore’s 20 points to pull to 49-44 in the third period. 

However, Oak Park proved to be too much, and clamped down on the Eagles – who mustered a 2-for-11 effort in the final period. Meanwhile, the Northmen pulled away behind Caleb Estes’ team-high 22 points, and Corbin Allen’s 20-point and 13-rebound performance. Allen had surpassed the 1,000-point career mark in Wednesday night’s 86-45 win over Lincoln Prep.  

Josh Kori tallied 13 points and seven rebounds for Oak Park, who will face Blue Springs South in the championship at 9 pm on Saturday. Oak Park (8-1) won the Nelson Division crown a year ago. 

Blue Springs South 54, Liberty North 40 

For the first time since 2018, Blue Springs South will be playing for a Jewell Classic title. 

The Jaguars pulled away after intermission to top Liberty North, 54-40, to advance to the final against Oak Park. Sully Mohamed was the lone player to score double digits in the contest with 13.  

Blue Springs South led 20-18 at halftime, but pulled away from the Eagles with 8-of-14 shooting, including four from three-point range, to lead 40-30 entering the final period.  

Bleu Renfrow scored nine points to lead Liberty North, which will face Central in the third-place game at 4:30 pm on Saturday. 

The Jaguars last trip to a Jewell Classic title game resulted in a Patterson Division title in 2018.  

Nelson Division

Staley 61, Winnetonka 48 

Staley handled fellow North Kansas City district foe Winnetonka, 61-48, and looks to take home an event-record fifth straight Jewell Classic title on Saturday night.  

The Falcons didn’t waste any time, jumping on the previously undefeated Griffins for an 18-2 lead, and never looked back. KV Stone and Avian Webb each netted 16 points, while Xavier Wilson added 10.  

Jaylen Craig scored a game-high 17 points for Winnetonka (9-1), while Ky Coleman added 15. The Griffins did close the gap to 46-37 after three periods, but couldn't close the gap.

Staley (6-3) will play in the Nelson Division title game at 6 pm on Saturday. The Falcons won titles in 2019-22, tying Lee’s Summit West (2010-13) and Liberty (1995-1998) for the only schools to four-peat in the 44-year old event.  

Rockhurst 53, Blue Springs 40

For the second tournament in a row, Rockhurst will face Staley for the title.

The Hawklets beat Blue Springs, 53-40, on Friday night in the Nelson Division semifinals. Rockhurst (6-4) will take on the Falcons, who beat Rockhust on December 9 in the finals of the Blue Springs Tournament.

Cooper Scott led the Hawklets with 12 points, while Andrew Sprague and Kevin Sullivan notched eight apiece. Rockhurst trailed after the first stanza, but outscored the Wilcats, 37-16, to enter the final period with a 45-26 margin.

Malik Lewis scored 12 to lead Blue Springs, which will face Winnetonka in the third-place game on Saturday.

Rockhurst seeks its first Jewell Classic title since 2018.

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