‘It’s never easy,’ and rivalry game proves it

On paper, Park Hill South appears to have a better boys basketball team than Park Hill. They have won more games this season and scored more points. But, as we all know, games are not played on paper. It was evident the first time the two rivals met this season and it was reinforced last Friday, when the Panthers hosted the Trojans in an anticipated Valentine’s Day rematch. Park Hill gave Park Hill South all it wanted and then some in a 61-58 Panthers win that gave South a sweep in the season series – it won 58-52 last month at Park Hill. South coach Rick Zych said the intensity of the competition didn’t surprise him. “It’s never easy against Park Hill,” he said. “They’ve got a good basketball team and they came to play tonight. Fortunately, we hit a few free throws late and made a few plays to get a win.” South led 58-52 with 59 seconds to play before Park Hill’s Louis Reinmiller hit the last of his four three-pointers to cut the lead to 58-55. From that point, South tried to work the clock and hit their free throws and they did both – Mitch Henderson sank 3-of-4 freebies the last 20 seconds to secure the win. South moved to 16-5 with the win and was scheduled to play at Lee’s Summit West Feb. 18 in a big Suburban Conference Red Division game. The Panthers will play at St. Joseph Central Friday before returning home Feb. 25 against Ruskin. Park Hill dropped to 10-11 and was set to play at Ruskin Feb. 18 before returning home against Lee’s Summit West on Friday. Midway through the second quarter and again at the outset of the third, it looked like South was in command. A basket from Evan Hines capped an 8-2 South run that gave the Panthers a 30-18 lead with two minutes to play in the first half. But Park Hill responded with a 9-4 run to close the half and trailed 34-27 at the break. South scored the first points of the second half on a basket from Hudson Welty to push its lead to nine, but Park Hill again answered the challenge. A 9-1 run including five points from Landry Shamet and another Reinmiller three cut South’s advantage to one point midway through period, setting the tone for the rest of the game – intense with every possession critical. Hines said after the game that the Panthers came out a little “lethargic.” “We started slow and they didn’t,” he said. “But it’s a rivalry game and we finally got it going.” Park Hill coach David Garrison said the game lived up to the rivalry status. “It was a great game, we battled for four quarters,” Garrison said. Shamet scored a game-high 27 points for Park Hill, while Reinmiller added 15 points. South got a balanced scoring line: Hudson Welty scored 16, Hines had 15 and Payton Meek added 12 points. Earlier in the week, Park Hill lost 71-63 at Lee’s Summit West as Shamet scored 18 points and Deionte Wilson had 12. The Trojans rebounded with a 61-56 win over St. Joe Central the next day – Wilson led with 17 points and Shamet scored 16. Results from Park Hill South’s game against Truman last week were not available.