Kansas City Pump N Run completed its most successful season in program history on Saturday.
Coach L.J. Goolsby’s local AAU basketball team avenged a Jayhawk Invitational semifinal loss to the St. Louis Eagles by downing the Missouri squad, 69-65, in the Metro Sports/KC Invitational 17 and under championship game at Okun Fieldhouse in Shawnee.
It marked KC Pump N Run’s fourth tourney title in the just-concluded AAU spring and summer campaign. Pump N Run, which in the past has won as many as three tourneys, also won at a tournament in Denver, one in Tulsa as well as another in K.C.
“It feels good to go out as champs,” eighth-year KC coach Goolsby said. “I told them (his players) that three years ago we lost to the Eagles team by 50 — when the guys were 15. We played them at the Jayhawk this year and lost by four. It was nice to get one back.
“We obviously know the caliber of players they have. We’re fortunate that we feel we’re at the point now we can compete with anybody in the country.”
The Eagles’ dynamic duo of Brad Beal and Ben McLemore scored 16 and 15, respectively. KC Pump N Run’s Tyler Kalinoski, 6-3 from Olathe East, was credited for doing a nice job defensively on 6-5 Florida commit Beal.
“It was one of our goals to get four or five (titles) for sure. It was nice to achieve one of our goals,” said Goolsby, whose team has also annually played well in Lawrence, taking four of the past six Jayhawk Invitational crowns.
Pump N Run this season boasted a roster that included: point guard Corey Hilliard of Raytown (Mo.) South High School, power forward Christian Kirk of St. Charles (Mo.) West, combo guard Jevon Lyle of K.C. O’Hara, guard/forward A.J. Spencer of SM Northwest, point guard Evan Manning of Free State and guard Evan Wessel of Wichita Heights.