6A boys: Derby wins, East loses
For the past three years, Derby coach Brett Flory sat behind the Blue Valley Northwest bench during the Class 6A title game, earnestly hoping the Huskies could win that elusive title.
Flory was cheering for his friend, Huskies coach Ed Fritz, the first person to give him a coaching job. Fritz hired him, without ever meeting him, when Flory’s job as manager for former Kansas coach Roy Williams ended.
“Anything that I’ve done, I owe to him more than anything else,” Flory said. “He means a lot to me.”
But Friday night, Flory’s Panthers will try to end BV Northwest’s title hopes in the Class 6A semifinals. Derby defeated Garden City 55-46 in the first round of the 6A tournament, while BV Northwest (23-0) beat Lawrence Free State 56-37.
“It will be” emotional,” Flory said. “In a game you won’t think about those kind of things. Before and after the game, it will be on your mind a little bit.”
Derby is the lone Wichita-area team playing in Friday’s 6A semifinals.
With Derby leading by five heading into the fourth quarter, Garden City’s Bo Banner hit a three-pointer to cut that lead to 34-32.
The Panthers started to pull away, thanks to senior guard Taylor Schieber.
Schieber hit a three-pointer from the top of the key. Less than a minute later, he hit another. Thirty seconds later he hit his third straight as Derby took a 43-34 lead.
“They gave me wide-open looks, and I just stepped up and knocked them down,” said Schieber, who had a game-high 20 points, hitting 4 of 5 threes.
Flory added: “He’s a big-time player, and those were bg-time shots when we needed them. He’s … obviously somebody we count on.… In crunch time, he delivered.”
Shawnee Mission East 53, Wichita East 41— Turning a semi-comfortable halftime lead into a double-digit loss is often only possible when meeting two criteria, and the Blue Aces met both of them to lose its first state tournament game in five years.
First, East’s offense shut down almost completely. The Aces made 1 of 12 shots in the third quarter, a difficult response to a steady first half that saw them lead the Lancers 27-21.
None of East’s best scorers could keep the Aces from sinking. De’Shawn Terrell, Samaje Jones and JJ Nomore combined for 36 points, but they missed 25 of 38 shots. East’s supporting players also struggled, going 2 for 18.
"We couldn’t throw a rock in the ocean in the second half," Wichita East coach Joe Jackson said. "Maybe that rim was tight; they struggled down there at that end, as well. We’ve got guys we feel like can knock down a shot, but we really struggled to put it in."
The Aces got no compensation from its second-half defense, which helped created a hectic environment in the first half and held the Lancers to 6-of-24 shooting.
Too often in the second half, though, SM East got to the basket with superior ball handling, ball movement and movement without the ball. The Lancers made 11 of 16 shots in the second, rarely challenged whether in the paint or on the perimeter.
Four players scored in double figures for SM East, led by Zachary Schneider’s 18 points.
"We struggled to cover shooters," Jackson said. "They ran (Vance Wentz) off some baseline picks and we didn’t step out like we should have.
"I’m still really proud of our kids. We didn’t defend like we wanted to, but that’s a really good team."