KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Park Hill South didn’t pull away until late in the third-place game of the Oak Park Invitational, a function of sloppy play for both teams Friday, Jan. 22. Meeting for the third time this season, Park Hill South and Platte County combined for 31 turnovers at Oak Park High School. A game-high 12 points for freshman standout Alecia Westbrook and 10 more
from sophomore guard Raquel Reid ended up being enough for the Panthers, who stretched out the lead late in a 49-37 win.
Platte County played minus four starters for much of the game but still managed to crawl within 38-31 midway through the fourth quarter.
“We’re trying real hard to keep our lead whenever we have it and comeback whenever we don’t,” Reid said.
Ashton Gray’s bucket late in the second quarter helped Park Hill South take a 27-19 lead in the half, and the Panthers increased the advantage with a 6-0 burst to start the third quarter. With help from Emily Dinovo’s second 3-pointer, Park Hill South led by as many as 15 and went into the fourth quarter up double digits.
Platte County’s first possession of the fourth quarter lasted more than a minute and ended with Ava White’s layup.
A freshman, Janessa Barmann hit a pair of free throws to keep the Pirates’ hope alive, and a 3-pointer for Sarah Bell later in the frame sliced the advantage back to eight. On the ensuing Park Hill South possession, Leah Booth grabbed an offensive rebound and drew a foul. She went to the line and made the first free throw but missed the second.
Westbrook followed with two offensive boards, part of her game-high total of 17, and Mayleigh Oder hit a layup to make it a three-point possession that left Park Hill South with a 45-34 lead. The Pirates weren’t within single digits the rest of the way.
Park Hill South finished with a 43-24 rebounding edge in addition to overcoming turnover problems by forcing Platte County into 19.
“We wanted to speed them up, but they did a good job of speeding us up,” Platte County coach Chris Stubbs said. “We wanted to slow down a little bit.”
Platte County started the game without Rachel Holden (nose), Liz Peterson (head) and Rocky Chambers (illness). A senior forward signed to Rockhurst, Holden broke her nose in a semifinal loss to Smithville the day before and had not yet been fitted with a protective mask.
With plenty of openings, White — an energetic junior — returned to the starting five and scored Platte County’s first four points for a 4-2 lead. Despite a size differential, she also ended up guarding Westbrook for much of the game, limiting the freshman standout’s production with physical defense in the post.
Jaycie Stubbs, a starting freshman guard, scored all eight of her points in the first half, including a 3-pointer that put the Pirates up 16-15 in the second quarter. Back-to-back buckets from Reid off of turnovers gave Park Hill South the lead back for good, and Platte County went more than 5 minutes scoreless.
Jaycie Stubbs’ two free throws with 1 minute, 2 seconds left before half broke the drought, but Dinovo’s first 3-pointer was the only other bucket for Park Hill South during the stretch. Westbrook answered the free throws with a basket inside before Gray’s only bucket put the Panthers up nine — their largest lead to that point.
After halftime, Jaycie Stubbs sat the bench for all of the final two quarters for unspecified reasons. With four starters out of action, Chris Stubbs went deep into his bench. White matched Jaycie Stubbs with eight points, while Bell finished with five off the bench, part of a 13-point night for the reserves.
“I thought they did all right,” Chris Stubbs said. “I told them it’s trial by fire. I kind of threw them in there. A lot of adversity. I don’t know that we’ve been healthy for one or two games all season. I think if we get healthy and get everyone on the same page, I think we could be a pretty good team.
“I don’t know. I’m not sure when we’ll get everybody back.”
Smithville 47, Platte County 37
A thin halftime lead dissolved quickly for the Pirates in a semifinal Thursday, Jan. 21 in Kansas City, Mo.
Platte County led 17-15 at the break but scored just eight points in the third quarter while allowing 20. The Pirates shot just 28 percent overall, including a 3-for-18 mark on 3-pointers. Chambers scored 15 points on 5-for-8 shooting, while Jaycie Stubbs finished with eight, hitting two 3s on 13 attempts.
North Kansas City 68, Park Hill South 34
The Hornets scored 27 points in the first quarter to build a double-digit lead they didn’t relinquish in a semifinal Thursday, Jan. 21 in Kansas City, Mo.
Park Hill South’s deficit reached 31 points in the first half before Grace Cunningham’s late 3 sent the Panthers into halftime down 44-16. She finished with seven points, while Dinovo led Park Hill South with eight points, including a pair of 3s.
Platte County 62, Oak Park 38
The Pirates won their opener in the tournament Tuesday, Jan. 19 behind 15 points for Jaycie Stubbs and 13 more for Holden, her best output since returning earlier in the month from a foot injury. Jaycie Stubbs hit three of Platte County’s five 3-pointers. The Pirates were up 32-20 at halftime and 48-26 entering the fourth quarter.
Chambers added nine points in the win.
Park Hill South 53, Liberty North 41
After a plodding first half, the Panthers pulled away in the second half, hitting 20 of 28 free throws overall.
Park Hill South led 18-15 at halftime in the first round matchup before totaling 35 points in the second half. Westbrook finished with 18 points and 17 rebounds along with six blocks. Reid added 10 points, and Oder nine, including the Panthers’ lone 3-pointer.
Gray went 7-for-8 at the line to account for all of her points.
Oder’s 3 late in the third quarter put Park Hill South up 33-22, but Liberty North closed within three early in the fourth quarter. A 14-2 run reestablished a double-digit advantage that didn’t return to single digits the rest of the way. Gray hit four free throws during the run.
Park Hill 53, Olathe North 28
Gigi Hopkins, Alex Berger and Morgen Smith combined for 24 points in the first half, and Amanda Alexander and Maliah Hudson tallied 15 in the second half in a balanced effort for the Trojans on Thursday, Jan. 21 in Basehor, Kan.
Park Hill went on to claim the consolation title with a 63-50 win against Basehor-Linwood on Saturday, Jan. 23.
Berger hit a pair of 3s and accounted for 10 of her team-high 13 points in the first half vs. Olathe North. She added her final 3 in the third quarter. Alexander scored all 10 of her points in the second half, including both of her 3s.
Smith scored nine, Hopkins seven and Hudson five.