Jaguars finish strong to beat Bonner Springs
Bonner Springs Mill Valley got off to a slow start on Tuesday evening against Bonner Springs, but it’s how the Jaguars finished that ultimately made the difference in their 49-43 road victory over the Braves.
Jaison Widmer led Mill Valley (10-7, 8-3 in Kaw Valley League play) with 13 points, including three 3-pointers, and teammate Clayton Holmberg added 10. Cooper Kaifes and Kasey Conklin each finished with eight points.
Brenden Dotson poured in 13 points for the Braves (11-6, 6-5), Aaron McGee added eight, and Antonio Roark and Connor Byers each finished with seven.
“Coming away with a win on somebody else’s floor, it’s never easy in this league,” Mill Valley coach Michael Bennett said. “I thought our guys really played with some grit and toughed it out at the end. They made some clutch free throws and put us in good shape.”
Bonner Springs led 12-7 after the first quarter and pushed its lead all the way up to nine points early in the second. McGee’s layup at the 6:55 mark gave the Braves a 16-7 advantage and forced Bennett to call a timeout to settle his team.
The Jaguars only allowed one basket the remainder of the half, and thanks to Holmberg’s jumper at the buzzer, Mill Valley trailed by just one at 18-17 heading into the locker room.
The third quarter featured three lead changes, but the teams went into the final period tied at 32. Kaifes hit back-to-back 3-pointers early in the fourth to give his squad a six-point edge at 38-32, and the Jaguars never looked back as they held on for the win.
“Our guys, especially in the third quarter and early in the fourth, hit some big shots from the perimeter,” Bennett said. “That really separated that score.”
The Braves stayed within striking distance throughout the quarter, but Mill Valley knocked down 7 of 9 free-throw attempts in the final 2:31 to cement the victory.
“I think their guys wanted it more,” Bonner Springs coach Dan Streit said. “We played, I think, a little soft mentally, and we weren’t getting to where we needed to be. I just thought their kids played really well and took care of the ball. We knew they were a good free-throw shooting team, so we didn’t exactly want to put them on the line. That’s what happened, and we paid for it.”
Jon Poorman is the sports editor at The Dispatch and The Chieftain. Follow him on Twitter at @JonPoorman for all of the latest community sports news.