Hornets Claim 10th Straight, Beat Rival Oak Park

In the ultimate rivalry of two ranked Northland teams, the #4 North Kansas City Hornets (9-1), winners of 9 in a row, took on the #10 Oak Park Northmen (8-1). 


After a tragic loss at home to open the year, the Hornets quickly slipped into form, under the careful tutelage of Ed Fritz. Taking a string of blowouts going into the William Jewell Holiday Classic, where they would play in two game of the year candidates. 


They started with an 81-37 defeat of Truman, then moving on to a second-half comeback victory over #21 Park Hill (6-4) by a score of 54-49. In the championship of the Nelson Division, they took on conference rival, #6 Lee’s Summit (6-1). 


It was just as good as advertised, both teams going on scoring runs, all the way to the wire. The Hornets showed late game prowess, taking the game 53-51. 


After a 66-37 win over Truman on Tuesday, the Hornets prepared for a matchup with bitter conference rival Oak Park. 


The Hornets started hot. Prolonging the Northmen’s “Silent Night” theme. Senior Dallas Whitney stole the show early, scoring 10 points in the first, and almost single-handedly outscoring the Northmen. Through 1 frame, the Hornets led 20-11.


Coach Scanlon revamped the Northmen over the short break, and freshman star Caleb Estes hit big jumpshots that are very comparable to one, Oak Park alumni who happened to be in the stands last night, Ochai Agbaji. The Hornets lost the lead, only to get it back on an Iverson Neal slam to wrap up the first half, 33-31. 


In the most NKC Hornet fashion, the second half started with the momentum fully in the Hornets favor. They rattled off big bucket after big bucket, on their way to a double-digit lead. The lead, however, shrunk to 52-47 to end the third. 


The Hornets built it back up, only to fall crumbling down after the freshman trio of Estes, Corbin Allen and Aedin Fields knocked down big shots to force a 62-62 tie, with 1:23 to play.  Out of a timeout Allen drove, threw up an off foot floater that got the shooters bounce. Count the bucket, and a foul on Neal. Allen converted the free-throw for the traditional three-point play. After a timeout, the Ed Fritz-less (out with kidney stones) prepared for the final stretch. 


Cyan Evans, who came up big against #18 St. James Academy (4-2), drove, put up a floater in the lane, got the foul on the shot. He knocked down both free throws, bringing the game to 53-52. Estes took the ball up the floor, drew a foul and went to the line. The first one missed long. The second one, short. Whitney corralled the rebound, brought it up the floor. Whitney to Evans, Evans to basket, count the bucket. Hornets lead 66-65. 


Looking for the lead, Allen pushed the ball quickly, and forced the ball into a tight window. Whitney got the steal, effectively sealing the contest. Webb knocked down two more, and the Northmen failed to get a good look from three to tie. 


The Hornets have won 10 in a row. They tee off next week in the Kearney Tournament, at Kearney High. We’ll see you there!