It looked as if Olathe North High School would run away with the fifth-place game in the 48th annual Ralph Miller Classic on Saturday. But a few adjustments by Wichita Defenders coach Curtis Cooley fueled by David Brown would be too much to handle for the Eagles.
Olathe North went on a 7-0 run thanks to KT Raimey, who scored 37 points in a game versus Chanute on Friday. He looked like he was primed to continue his dominance versus Wichita, especially after a hard crossover dribble through the legs to the left en route to the rim before scoring an easy deuce. But that was Raimey’s only basket in the first quarter, and the four-time All-State selection would have just 8 points in the game.
A red-hot-from-downtown 18-2 run that put the Defenders up 23-14 at the end of the first and a 7-1 run late in the third to make the score 46-42 at the end of the third essentially lifted Wichita to a 62-50 win over Olathe North and a fifth-place finish in the tourney.
Brown scored 26 points with four 3s, while Joshua Martin and Jonah Wolters scored 10 apiece. Wolters racked up three 3s, and Martin, Micah Cooley, Kip Ammons and Levi Beougher each had one 3.
The high scorer for Olathe North was Koi Jackson with 14 points.
Cooley said Wichita needed to slow the pace down to roll out of Chanute with their second victory of the day. Another huge adjustment was for Wichita to stay in front of Olathe as best as they could, as with Raimey, it was either an easy layup, a foul on the Defenders or a shot for the Eagles throughout the game.
Still, Olathe had a 12-2 run in the third that actually put the Eagles up, but it was another subtle adjustment that propelled Wichita, none bigger than when Brown stroked a 3 that put his team up 49-47 with 3:30 left in the game.
“Really it came offensively. We’ve got a couple of set plays – I’m not a big set-play person, I believe in letting the guys play basketball, but sometimes as a coach, you’ve got to make a decision to go, ‘The guys are not wanting to play basketball, so I’m going to have to run some sets, getting and keeping the ball in David’s hand, running some sets,’” Cooley said. “That really sparked some things right there.”
What also sparked Wichita was employing several ball and fade screens because Olathe North played too high on man-to-man coverage.
Brown, a Player of the Conference in the National Homeschool Basketball Association, said he will shoot his shot when it is available.
“I just took the opportunity to make my shots, and anybody on this team can get hot, so I guess today was my day,” Brown said.