Top Five Stars: Liberty vs. North Kansas City
Prep Hoops Missouri took a look at one of the top Class 6 district semifinal contest on Wednesday night when No. 2 seed Liberty took on No. 3 seed North Kansas City in District 7 action at xx. It looked…
Prep Hoops Missouri took a look at one of the top Class 6 district semifinal contest on Wednesday night when No. 2 seed Liberty took on No. 3 seed North Kansas City in District 7 action at xx.
It looked like it was going to be a one-sided victory for Liberty as it built a 39-21 lead late in the third quarter. That was before North Kansas City staged a big fourth-quarter rally fueled by its full-court pressure. They cut the lead to 48-46 late and actually had a chance to tie or take the lead. However, Liberty was able to withstand the big rally and come away with a 54-48 victory to move into Friday night’s championship game against Staley.
Here is a look at our Top Five Stars from Wednesday night’s Liberty-North Kansas City district semifinal game.
No. 1 Star:(Liberty)
The 6’4″ 2022 point guard showed why he is one of the top point guards in the state as he scored a game-high 21 points to lead the Bluejays. More important, he came through when his team needed him the most. He scored on a big three-point play when the Jays were clinging to a 48-46 lead with 30 seconds left in regulation. He also sealed the win with a pair of free throws in the closing seconds. His basketball IQ is off the charts as he plays wears several different hats to help his team succeed. He runs the show with his playmaking and passing ability, but he is a potent offensive player who creates off the bounce and gets buckets in traffic. He moves at his own speed and rarely does he get sped up. He knows when to keep the ball moving and when to keep it in his hands to make a play.
No. 2 Star: Karson Milbrandt (Liberty)
The 6’3″ 2022 wing is one of the big reasons why the Bluejays have been able to maintain their place among the state’s elite teams this season. After seeing very limited time last season on a state runner-up team, he has emerged as a consistent offensive threat and fine all-around player. He went from averaging one point a game last season to 10 points this year. He was on cue last night as he contributed 15 points to the victory, including three 3-pointers. His perimeter shooting has been huge this season as he has been knocking them down at about a 40 percent clip from long distance. He is always active and moving without the ball, which keeps the offense flowing.
No. 3 Star:(North Kansas City)
The 6’6″ 2022 forward scored a team-high 11 points to conclude a very productive senior season after his transfer from Blue Springs South. I was impressed with his consistency throughout the season. He was one of the most impressive mid-range shooters in the state. He did the same last night as he was able to get to his spot and shoot over defenders with his height and good elevation on his shot. He’s gotten physically stronger over the past year as he could handle the physical contact and still get to the basket and attack the boards at both ends.
No. 4 Star: Iverson Neal (North Kansas City)
When the Hornets were staging their big rally from an 18-point deficit, this 6’5″ 2022 forward was in the middle of all of the action with his energetic play at both ends. He scored seven of his nine points in the second half. He usually does most of his work inside, but he also added a key 3-pointer in that second-half rally. He is a valuable asset because he can be productive without any plays having to be run for him because of his athleticism and high motor. He loves to run the court in transition and he can rebound and block shots.
No. 5 Star: Spender Blaine (Liberty)
The 2022 guard scored eight points, which included a pair of big 3-pointers in the third quarter which helped the Bluejays increase their lead to 18 points. In addition to being an excellent perimeter shooter, he is a solid all-around player who doesn’t make a lot of mistakes.