After ending a 20-year postseason drought last season, the Park Hill boys wasted little time breaking another streak this season.
For the first time in 15 tries, the Trojans won their division at the William Jewell Holiday Classic held at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo. The Trojans defeated Lincoln Prep 67-50 in the Nelson Division championship game on Dec. 30 to cap the three-game run.
“It was a great tournament for our team,” Park Hill coach David Garrison said. “Offensively, we shot the ball extremely well in our first two games against Grandview and (Raymore-Peculiar). We did not shoot as well in the championship game against Lincoln Prep in the first half, but our kids did a fantastic job defensively, and we worked harder to get the ball to the basket due to our shooting struggles.”
Park Hill senior and Wichita State signee Landry Shamet earned the Nelson’s Division’s player of the year honors after he scored 58 points. Fellow senior Deionte Wilson earned a spot alongside Shamet on the all-tournament team with 41 points, including 19 in the championship game against Lincoln Prep.
Park Hill sophomore Dru Smith tallied 15 points in the championship and had 34 overall in the bracket-play tournament.
The Trojans used strong first and fourth quarters to claim the advantage against Lincoln Prep. Park Hill led 13-2 after the first and outscored the Tigers 25-16 in the fourth to control the game over Class 4’s No. 1 team, according to the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association’s most recent poll.
Park Hill was coming off a second-place finish in the Blue Springs South Tournament’s round-robin format.
“It is a great accomplishment for our players (to win the Jewell tournament),” Garrison said. “One of the main things we can take away from this tournament is that even when we might struggle offensively, our team defense can put us in a position to be successful.”
Park Hill (8-1) traveled to Kearney on Tuesday, Jan. 6 but the result was not available at The Citizen’s deadline. The Trojans then have showdowns on Tuesday, Jan. 13 and Friday, Jan. 16 against Lee’s Summit West and Blue Springs.