Bonner Springs boys determined to send Price off on winning note

Brett Steuart drives to the basket during Bonner Springs’ 61-27 victory against Piper on Tuesday. Steuart scored the game’s first eight points and finished with 12. Enlarge photo

February 1, 2012, 2:36 a.m. Updated: 2 February 2012, 12:00 a.m.

With the clock now ticking on the careers of Bonner Springs boys senior basketball players and their coach Andy Price, the group began its trek toward the final postseason of their careers Friday.

Senior guard Jourdaine Smallwood said the players wanted to win for him in his final year and also their own.

“We want to do it this year and make him proud,” Smallwood said. “But we also want to do it for ourselves because it would be a good memory for us. It would be nice to have some jewelry and something to tell my kids about some day.”

Bonner Springs earned a 63-52 victory against William Chrisman on Friday and defeated Piper 61-27 on Tuesday. The first half was lackluster for the Braves against William Chrisman.

The Bears wanted to play up-tempo basketball and force the Braves into playing too quickly. The Bears routinely subbed five players into the game in a pattern that mirrored what a fan witnesses in a hockey game where one line skates on the ice to replace another.

The strategy kept Bonner Springs (10-3, 5-2) off balance in the first half. The Braves looked out of sorts on offense in the half with numerous turnovers and errant passes. Brett Steuart led the team with six points. Players missed numerous open layups and other shots.

William Chrisman led 25-22 at intermission.

“We knew that we played sloppy in the first half,” Smallwood said. “Coach talked to us about bringing it on defense and said that it would transfer over to offense.”

The Braves returned with a 13-3 run to open up the third quarter. During the run, the team appeared to take control of the game. Smallwood had a couple of steals and Jackson had back-to-back layups as the momentum shifted in favor of the Braves. With a double-digit lead built, though, the Braves allowed a 9-0 run to make it a two-point game again.

The teams traded baskets the rest of the quarter and the score was 43-38 entering the fourth quarter. Bonner Springs maintained its five-point lead throughout the rest of the game, increasing the lead to double digits when BJ Watson scored five consecutive points later in the fourth quarter. He finished with 20 points and led the Braves in scoring. Steuart finished with 14 points.

At Piper on Tuesday, Steuart scored the Braves’ first eight points and finished with 12 in what Price called the most complete effort from the Braves all season.

Bonner Springs built a 13-3 first quarter lead against a team that held numerous leads in the pair’s first meeting this season. Watson led the Braves Tuesday with 13 points and 4-of-6 shooting from the free-throw line. Stevie Williams also scored 12 points. The Braves return to play at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Bishop Ward (3-10, 1-6).

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