In big time rivalries, teams seek leadership for their captains.
Or maybe a future admiral.
U.S. Naval Academy basketball signee Cameron Davis put away eight 3-pointers and scored 29 points in Kickapoo’s 96-77 win over rival Glendale at the O’Reilly Family Event Center Tuesday night. Davis upped his scoring average to 19.5 points per game, and showed off some shooting skill he has worked to develop from long range.
“I’ve worked on my jump shot a lot, but my teammates did a tremendous job finding me, and I felt like I was taking good shots. They were in rhythm, and credit to my teammates again. They did a tremendous job finding me and I was stepping in, knocking (shots) down,” Davis said.
Kickapoo (16-4), the No. 5-ranked Class 5 team in the state, desires to return to the state final four for a second consecutive year. Davis played on a team that went 29-3 his junior year and lost to Chaminade in the 2016 Class 5 state championship game.
“It’s going to be a tough road, definitely, getting a district championship again and trying to get back to where we’ve got to get to. We’re definitely capable of doing that and it’s all on us now,” Davis said.
Kickapoo built a lead with an 11-2 run to close the first quarter, punctuated with a dunk from Xavier signee Jared Ridder at the buzzer. Ridder led all scorers with 31 points.
Kickapoo extends a winning streak to six games.
Glendale (16-6) cut what was an 18-point lead with a 14-2 scoring run in the fourth quarter to pull within six points, but Kickapoo answered back with layups from Ridder and Isaac Blakeslee to extend the Chiefs’ lead back to double digits.
Of the seven players who scored points for Kickapoo on Tuesday, six are seniors. Donyae McCaskill is the lone sophomore in a rotation of Davis, Ridder, Rutgers football signee Travis Vokolek, Isaac Blakeslee, Mitch Closser and Corey Dye.
“Blakeslee, Vokolek, Closser, McCaskill and Corey Dye and all these guys that we’re playing are doing a heck of a job for us,” Kickapoo coach Dick Rippee said. “I don’t want to say they’re playing a role, but they’re guarding well, they’re rebounding well, they make an extra pass when they need to, and they’re stepping up and hitting big shots when they need to. That’s a sign of a team that’s got the right mindset.”
The Chiefs are trying not to look past the remainder, and the rivalry game with Glendale represented one step on the journey for a team loaded with seniors.
“It’s our last time playing Glendale here at Drury, so we definitely wanted to go out with a bang, and I feel like we did that tonight,” Davis said. “It’s always a tremendous atmosphere when we play Glendale, I mean it’s always a fun time. We get together and we always want to put on a show for the crowd.”
The loss snaps a 10-game winning streak for the Falcons that dates to Jan. 5 in the opening round of Joplin’s Kaminsky Classic tournament. Glendale had not lost a game in the 2017 calendar year. Monty Johal, a junior who is Glendale’s all-time leading scorer, put away 27 points for the Falcons.
Glendale coach Brian McTague expected the Chiefs to use an offensive size advantage, but instead saw Davis and Ridder work largely from the perimeter.
“We rolled the dice that (Kickapoo) would try to pound it inside, and instead they shot jump shots all night and made them anyway. When they shoot it like that, they’re really hard to beat,” McTague said.
McTague credited Davis for working well with his teammates.
“(Davis) can do anything he wants to. He can get to the rim, he can shoot 10-footers, he can shoot threes off the dribble or the catch. He’s a really good player and there is a reason he’s going Division I,” McTague said. “Then you’ve got Ridder on the other side of the court, then you’ve got Big Ten football (Vokolek) in the middle of the court, so it’s a hard matchup.”
The Chiefs play their next game Friday, Feb. 10 at Joplin (8-11). The same night, Glendale travels across Springfield to visit Parkview (14-5).
High school boys basketball
Kickapoo 96, Glendale 77
At O’Reilly Family Event Center, Drury University
Kickapoo—Jared Ridder 31, Cameron Davis 29, Isaac Blakeslee 13, Travis Vokolek 9, Donyae McCaskill 8, Mitch Closser 4, Corey Dye 2
Glendale—Monty Johal 27, Jordan Walton 22, Garrett Freeman 15, Jaxon Davis 9, Josh Call 4.