KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It wasn't the ending the Liberty Blue Jays hoped for, but they'll be back next year.
It's bitter-sweet for junior point-guard Bennett Stirtz, who had the game-winning assist in the Missouri Class 6 semifinals to send Liberty to the state championship game against Kickapoo.
“It feels amazing, just all the hard work I put in over the summer is starting to pay off, but I wouldn’t be here without my teammates so, have to give them a shoutout," Bennett Stirtz said.
Averaging more than 15 points per game, Stirtz knows how to get to the basket, but he also knows when to dish it to the open man. In reality, Stirtz would rather accumulate assists than points.
In that semifinal game against Fort Zumwalt North, it was a battle to the buzzer. In the final seconds, Stirtz found teammate Luke Stubbs cutting to the basket with a chance to seal the game.
“We just ran our ball screen play and I drove to the rim, saw Luke cutting down to the baseline, he was wide open so, just passed him the ball and he made a great finish," Bennett Stirtz said.
The Blue Jays (26-4) fell short to Kickapoo (28-2) in the Class 6 state championship game, 71-62.
While it's bitter-sweet for the Blue Jays to look back on their accomplishments this season, head coach Roger Stirtz told 41 Action News the team will use the loss as motivation for next season.
“We know that we’ll have a bullseye on our back, that teams are going to be gunning for us, but that should motivate us to work a little extra hard and to just be one game better than we were this year," Roger Stirtz said.