Park Hill boys reach Jewell title game, come up short of repeat

LIBERTY, Mo. — Park Hill went back to a final at the William Jewell Holiday Classic looking for another title in the prestigious holiday tournament. Instead, the Trojans took a lump in their first championship game scenario under Chad Jones, who is in his first season coaching his alma mater after a successful tenure at Smithville. Lee’s Summit’s 3-point barrage in the second quarter buried Park Hill on Wednesday, Dec. 30 in the championship game of the Patterson Division with the Tigers going on to a comfortable 73-50 win.

BRYCE MERENESS/Citizen photo Park Hill forward Kentrez Bell, center, fights for an entry pass between two Lee’s Summit defenders during the William Jewell Holiday Classic’s Patterson Division championship game Wednesday, Dec. 30 in Liberty, Mo.

Last season, Park Hill won the Nelson Division for its first-ever title in the William Jewell Holiday Classic. Park Hill went to the third place game of the Liberty North Invitational earlier in the month and sat at 6-3 entering a Tuesday, Jan. 5 matchup against Kearney. The result was not available at The Citizen’s deadline.

The loss to Lee’s Summit snapped a four-game winning streak.

Lee’s Summit hit five 3s in the second quarter of a matchup of the bracket’s top two seeds and finished with 10 overall. The Tigers were up 17-15 early in the second quarter when senior guard Oliver Edwards hit the first of his three 3s with 6 minutes, 28 seconds to go before the half. He scored 13 of his 15 points in the frame, helping the Tigers go on a lengthy run.

“When you hit that many 3s in a high school game, you’re going to win,” Jones said. “They’re a good team. You tip your hat to them. Our guys competed and we played hard. But they were the better team tonight.”

Oliver’s 3 ended up spiraling into a 21-2 run that Park Hill sophomore guard DJ Johnson stopped with a pull-up jumper a minute before the break. The Trojans scored two more and went into halftime down 38-21.

Park Hill senior guard Brandon Townsell scored four of his 14 points during a stretch of the third quarter that saw the Trojans briefly whittle the deficit to single digits. He ended up earning a spot on the all-tournament team, which he also did at Liberty North earlier in the season.

“It’s good recognition for Brandon,” Jones said. “He deserved it. There’s some good players out there. To be one of the five players that makes the all-tournament team, he can look back for years and say, ‘Hey, there’s my name in the program.

BRYCE MERENESS/Citizen photo Park Hill senior guard Brandon Townsell, center, goes in for a layup against Lee’s Summit in the William Jewell Holiday Classic’s Patterson Division title game Wednesday, Dec. 30 in Liberty, Mo.

“He’s having a heck of a senior year, and he’ll have a chance to go play college basketball somewhere.”

No other Trojans player reached double figures with Johnson, junior guard Dru Smith and senior forward Tanner Zeil each scoring eight. Lee’s Summit had four in double digits with Nick Larkin (15) earning the tournament’s most outstanding player award.

Park Hill 64, Kearney 48

The Trojans’ one-point halftime lead ballooned to an easy win in the semifinals of the William Jewell Holiday Classic on Tuesday, Dec. 29.

Smith scored a game-high 16 points, and Park Hill shot 20-for-29 on free throws. Zeil (14) and Townsell (12) also finished in double digits for points, while senior forward Kentrez Bell added nine. The Trojans hit four 3s total, including two for Zeil.

Kearney led 15-9 after one quarter, and Park Hill outscored the Bulldogs in each frame the rest of the way.

Park Hill 74, North Kansas City 57

The Trojans stormed away from North Kansas City in the second half of their tournament opener Saturday, Dec. 26.

For the Trojans, junior forward Chester Graves scored a career-high 15 points in the win with Zeil (14), Townsell, (13) and Smith (12) rounding out a quartet of double-digit scorers. Tanner Morrison and Bell — both seniors — added eight points apiece.

Park Hill led 36-33 at halftime and outscored the Hornets 38-24 over the final 16 minutes.