Park Hill betting tough early schedule pays off down the road

Park Hill senior guard Ricky Trammell, left, tried to lift a shot over the outstretched arm of Grandview’s Nelson Nweke during the semifinals of the Nile Media Group Holiday Classic at William Jewell College in Liberty last Saturday. Grandview won 72-60. LEE STUBBS/Citizen photo

The Park Hill South boys’ basketball team had played a pretty tough schedule even before they took part in the Nile Media Group Holiday Classic at William Jewell.

Coming into the tourney, the Trojans had already faced Liberty, Blue Springs South (twice), Kearney, Oak Park and Truman. Then in the first round of the Cardinal Division bracket at William Jewell, Park Hill held off a tough Pleasant Hill team 55-49 before falling to always-tough Grandview 72-60 in the semifinals. The Trojans regrouped in the third-place game on Monday when they notched a hard-fought 63-62 overtime victory over Raytown. The win pushed Park Hill’s record to 6-5 on the season and gave the Trojans another notch on its already-battle-tested belt. It also lets the Trojans get a little break before they return to the court Jan. 7 at home against North Kansas City. “This tourney has great teams,” Park Hill coach David Garrison said of the three-bracket, 24-team annual holiday tourney featuring many of the top teams in the Kansas City metro area. “And we had already played a tough schedule coming in. We have found out a lot about ourselves the first few weeks of the season and the tough competition is going to make us better.” It’s going to be tough for Park Hill’s Landry Shamet to get much better. The 6-foot, 4-inch junior has been money most every night and is averaging 21 points, five rebounds and four assists per game. Shamet scored 28 points in Monday’s win over Raytown and netted 20 points two days earlier in the loss to Grandview. But Shamet doesn’t like to talk too much about what he is doing – he’s excited about what lies ahead for the Trojans. “Everybody on our team plays a part and brings it every game,” he said. “We have played well in some games, but we are nowhere near our peak. So, that’s exciting, to think how much better we can be.” Shamet and senior Kenny McConnell are the lone returning starters from last year’s team, but the roster also includes several players who contributed last year. Junior Deionte Wilson is a 6-4 scorer who is second on the team with nearly 13 points per game, 6-4 junior Louis Reinmiller averages more than seven points per game and McConnell averages seven points and five boards per game. Seniors Jake Lee, Drew Hendrix and Ricky Trammell, as well as junior Carter Anchors all play plenty of minutes, giving the Trojans a deep roster. “We’ve got plenty of guys that can step in and make plays for us,” Garrison said. “And when one guy makes a play or two, it sparks everybody else.” Garrison said he is happy with his squad overall so far, but says there’s plenty of room for improvement. “On defense, we’ve got some things we need to work on,” he said. “As soon as we get everybody clicking on all cylinders, I think we have a chance to be a good team. But our district is going to be tough – Park Hill South, Staley, North Kansas City and St. Joe Central, which won the district last year.” Shamet also pointed to the Trojans’ defense as lacking a bit, but also said the Trojans have faced a tough schedule. “We let too much in the paint (against Grandview) but those guys are a really tough team,” he said. “Playing all these good teams is going to be good for us down the road.”