EMPORIA, KANSAS – Isaiah Maikori forced Blue Valley Southwest’s David Kim to the right and Maikori used his left hand to steal a chance of victory away from the Timberwolves on Wednesday afternoon.
Maikori, a junior, prided himself on his defense all season and came up big once again. The steal and the eventual free throws by Jack Johnson iced the 60-59 win over BV Southwest in the first round of the Class 5A boys tournament.
"I tried to stay in my position," Maikori said. "Do what I know how to do. It worked out."
The crucial steal capped off another answer to any BV Southwest fight as it had been all night.
"We had guys step up big when we needed them," Andover head coach Martin Shetlar said.
Andover (23-0) Jumped out to a 9-1 lead off back-to-back threes from Jack Taylor and Johnson but BV Southwest answered with two of their own.
Sebastian Hamm hit three three-pointers in the first three minutes of the second quarter to give BV Southwest their first leads of the game. While BV Southwest had their run, the Trojans had their answer.
Harper Jonas had an 8-0 run of his own to respond to Hamm’s run. His 8-0 run put the Trojans up for good.
"We made big shots in the beginning and it helped us out in the end," Johnson said.
Johnson’s layup off a smart pass from Kaleb Gaddis at the buzzer of the end of the first half put the Trojans ahead 33-27.
Taylor hit a three to start the second half and Jonas followed it up with another, as Andover pushed their lead out to seven early in the third.
Johnson’s and-one gave the Trojans a 47-38 lead, their largest of the game, with 2:38 remaining in the third.
BV Southwest (9-14) made their run midway through the fourth with their season on the line. They were able to cut it to one-possession on multiple occasions. However, the Trojans always had a response.
Gaddis nailed a three from the top of the key to put Andover back up 55-50 with 1:47 remaining and the Trojans hit 5-of-8 free throws down the stretch to put the game at arm’s length.
Gaddis finished the game with six points, six rebounds and six assists.
That’s when Maikori had his moment.
With a 59-56 lead, Maikori picked the pocket with 10 seconds remaining, sealing the victory.
"That was amazing," Johnson said. "That was the game-winning possession."
Maikori had 11 points, four rebounds and four steals for Andover.
Johnson would hit a free throw with 4.3 seconds remaining to put the Trojans up four. He would finish with 21 points 6-of-13 shooting and had six rebounds to go with it. Johnson also had zero turnovers on the afternoon.
"Harper and Jack are our leaders," Shetlar said. "They do a great job with this team."
Jonas finished with 13 points and eight rebounds.
The Trojans 50 percent from beyond the arc, going 9-of-18.
The win puts the Trojans into the Final Four for the first time since 2008. That year, Andover won their first 24 games before falling in the final four and in the third place game.
"Two more," Johnson said. "That’s what we keep telling ourselves. We have two more games to go."
CLASS 5A BOYS
ANDOVER 60, BLUE VALLEY SOUTHWEST 59
BLUE VALLEY SOUTHWEST (9-14)
Kim, 3-7 3-4 10, Curry 2-8 0-0 5, Murrow 2-7 0-0 6, Ryckman 8-11 0-1 17, Zimmerman 5-8 0-0 10, Hamm 3-6 0-0 9,. DeFever 1-6 0-0 2. Totals 24-53 3-5 59.
Gaddis 2-5 1-2 6, Johnson 6-13 6-9 21, Maikori 4-10 3-5 11, Taylor 2-7 3-4 9, Jonas 4-10 2-3 13, Henry 0-0 0-0 0, Oliver-Hurt 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-46 15-24 60
Blue Valley SW;14;13;15;17;—;59
3-point goals—Blue Valley SW 8-17 (Kim 1-1, Curry 1-5, Murrow 2-5, Ryckman 1-2, Hamm 3-4), Andover 9-18 (Gaddis 1-1, Johnson 3-7, Taylor 2-5, Jonas 3-5). Fouled out—None.
Rebounds—Blue Valley SW 32 (Zimmerman 11), Andover 31 (Jonas 8). Turnovers—BVSW 8, Andover 4. Total fouls—Blue Valley SW 19, Andover 11.