The Trojans scored the first 11 points against Park Hill South but needed to survive pushes from the visitors for a 61-38 win in the team’s Suburban League Red Division opener. Park Hill improved to 8-2 with the win, capping off a busy week of play.
“More importantly, it’s got us to 1-0 in the conference,” Park Hill coach Aaron Neeser said. “I understand it’s Park Hill South, but we’re trying to compete for the conference so getting off to a good start always helps.”
Park Hill standout Riana Everidge tallied a double-double in the first half — 14 points and 10 rebounds — and improved her marks to 25 and 15 by the end of the game. A transfer from St. Pius X, she fouled out with 2 minutes, 53 seconds left — part of a trio to pick up their fifth on three straight possessions.
By that point, Park Hill had done enough to ensure a win after putting Park Hill South in an early hole.
“We have to come out playing fast,” Everidge said. “In order for us to do that, we have to have good warmups. Once we start hitting those shots, we just keep shooting the ball, and hopefully they keep falling for us.”
Park Hill forced early turnovers with an athletic ball-pressure scheme, leading to easy baskets.
Everidge, a signee to Division I Nevada, scored eight points and collected seven rebounds — six offensive — in the first quarter alone. The relentless attack stems from a 1-2 showing early in the season at the Winnetonka Invitational.
“That’s the team we’ve turned into,” Neeser said. “We’ve been trying to use our athleticism and trying to wear the other team down and get off to a good start. It seems to be working for us right now. I got wiser after the (Winnetonka tournament) I sat down with my staff, and we talked about who we are and what we need to do. And it’s been working for us.”
Park Hill South senior guard Mackenzie Stout (seven points) finally ended the Panthers’ opening drought with a 3-pointer at the 3:41 mark of the first quarter. The deep shot started an 8-0 run.
Park Hill answered with a 7-0 run extending into the second quarter to reestablish a double-digit lead, and the Trojans were up 34-17 at halftime.
“I was a little worried (after we trailed 11-0),” Park Hill South coach Jenny Orlowski said. “I’m proud of the girls for playing an excellent first half. They were gutting it out. They played hard. We were outsized and outquicked by Park Hill. They’re a good team. I thought we played nitty-gritty basketball.”
Gigi Hopkins scored nine in a balanced offensive attack behind Everidge. Eight players combined for Park Hill’s 36 other points.
Park Hill South forward Sydney Baska totaled a team-high 16 points.
Struggling again, Park Hill South (4-6) hosts St. Joseph Central on Thursday, Jan. 15 looking for its first win in Suburban League play. The Panthers then head to the Oak Park Tournament starting next week.
Park Hill travels to Liberty on Thursday, Jan. 15. The Blue Jays finished third in the Suburban League Gold Division last season before swapping down to the smaller Red Division, and they could be a contender with the Trojans for the league crown.
Smithville girls 54, Platte County 32
The Warriors scored 24 unanswered points in the second quarter Monday, Jan. 12 at Platte County High School on the way to a blowout victory.
Platte County (3-6) has lost two straight coming out of the holiday break entering Thursday’s Suburban League Blue Division opener at Raytown South. The Pirates lost 65-24 at Park Hill on Tuesday, Jan. 6.
Smithville led just 7-5 after the first quarter but pulled away with a run that started with 13 straight, prompting Platte County coach Chris Stubbs to use three of his timeouts.
Four players finished in double figures for Smithville, including a game-high 15 for Trace Mosby. Platte County outscored Smithville in the final two quarters by a combined four points after trailing 31-5 at halftime. Rachel Holden led the Pirates with 12 points, while Madysen Fine finished with nine, including all three of their 3-pointers.
Park Hill girls 51, Kearney 37
Everidge scored a game-high 28, and Jaleiyah Gibbs added 10 points with three 3-pointers for the victorious Trojans on Thursday, Jan. 8.
Kearney managed just 13 points after halftime, allowing Park Hill to pull away for a double-digit win. The Trojans were up 28-24 at halftime.
Everidge and Katie Reichert added a 3-pointer apiece to help in the outside attack. The Trojans also went 14-for-19 on free throws.
Park Hill girls 65, Platte County 24
Everidge led the Trojans with 23 points, helping them to a 41-15 halftime lead on the way to an easy win. No other player for either team scored in double figures.
Platte County didn’t tally double digits in any quarter, scoring nine in the second.
Holden and Lindsey Bogart led the Pirates with six points apiece.