In the first game Hickman Mills -- featuring raw but rapidly improving junior big man Mark Smith -- squared off against Rockhurst while Raytown squared off against Jim Hinrich’s North Kansas City squad.
CLASS 5A DISTRICT 16 SEMIS
There must be something about playing against Rockhurst that puts Kansas City (MO) Hickman Mills junior Mark Smith in some type of zone. Last year as a sophomore the 6-7 BF had his coming out party when he exploded for 31 points and 16 rebounds against the Hawklets. On Tuesday night Smith got off to a quick start blocking five shots, scoring four points and grabbing three rebounds in the first two and a half minutes.
Unfortunately, Smith so dominated the lane that he turned a team that already prefers to launch from the perimeter into an almost exclusively perimeter shooting team who got hot. Hickman was able to keep things close at the half, but Rockhurst took over in the third quarter as seniors Jeff Barnthouse and Tom Farmer let it fly from the outside and promising junior PG Phillip Strozier -- who doubles as one of the top football prospects in the city -- directed the traffic and hounded Hickman’s young guards.
In the end Rockhurst’s experience and hot shooting was too much to overcome and they walked away with a lopsided victory (unfortunately the author forget to write down the final score). However, Smith has to be credited for a very fine stat line of 15 points, 12 rebounds and 13 (!) blocks on the night. If the big man remains confident and aggressive, he’s a solid mid to mid major plus prospect who could draw some lower high major looks.
In the nightcap, Hinrich probably wished that he still had his son around but unfortunately he was busy helping the Bulls win in overtime. The reason, Raytown came out early and blew North Kansas City out of their own gym from the start and it all revolved around the play of junior JeJuan Maxwell a 6-6 combo forward who went off for 28 points and 14 rebounds in a much more lopsided than it looked 64-51 victory.
In fact, Maxwell has been quietly putting up numbers all year and has gone from a kid who might have been a possible low major player in the right situation into a very fine mid major prospect. He’s incredibly long and quick around the basket and does most of his work there because of Raytown’s lack of size. However, he shows promise as a wing player because of a very nice stroke, quick first step and improving ability to put the ball on the floor. He’s arguably the most improved junior in the city.
Even though NKC was blown out, it shouldn’t take away from the final performance of one of the city’s most underrated players, 6-4 WG Adam White. White, who went for 20, has attracted offers from Evansville and South Dakota State and has several other mid-majors looking. His junior teammates Brandon Coleman a 6-2 PG/WG and Corey Fennix a 6-6 jumping jack combo forward could eventually be division one prospects as well.
Freshman PG Raphael Brown from Hickman Mills officially announced himself as a player to watch for down the road. The solid 5-11 PG played a smart floor game and proved to be an offensive threat off the dribble and with his smooth looking jumper. It was only eight points and five assists, but the future is potentially bright for this young man.
Elsewhere around the city it was just another night at the office for future Nebraska Cornhusker Marcus Walker, the 6-0 scoring machine went off for another 40 in a first round district win. Over in Lawrence, senior Brady Morningstar’s 18 led Lawrence Free State to a tough win over Shawnee Mission East and high scoring junior J.D. Christie who dropped in 26 in a losing effort. Unsigned senior, and low to mid major prospect, Lorenzo Rice came up with a career high 30 for Grandview (MO) High when it needed it most in a 69-59 overtime victory against Lee’s Summit.
- Total games seen- 139
- Total teams seen- 128
- Total miles traveled- 10, 613