Park Hill has the chance to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1995 after a 44-29 win against rival Park Hill South in a Class 5 District 16 semifinal Tuesday, March 3 at St. Joseph Central High School. The Trojans advance to a district title game for the first time since a 52-37 loss to Staley in the 2012 District 15 final.
District 16’s top seed and the lone team with a winning record in the bracket, Park Hill plays Staley, a 42-39 winner against St. Joseph Central in the other semifinal, at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, March 6 in St. Joseph.
“I’m so excited for these kids to have this opportunity on Friday,” Park Hill coach Aaron Neeser said. “Three years ago, we came in and I sat down with a lot of these kids and we made a plan. We made it a goal to make it to the district championship game, because when you get there, anything can happen.”
Facing Park Hill South for the third time this season, Park Hill sophomore forward Morgen Smith scored a team-high 14 points, taking advantage of the Panthers’ lack of size. Amanda Alexander added 12 points, and Gigi Hopkins chipped in 10 to round out the double-figure scorers for the Trojans (18-8).
While Park Hill received a first-round bye as the top seed, Park Hill South (8-19) navigated a third matchup with Oak Park in the first round on Monday, March 2 in St. Joseph.
Park Hill South guard Erica Timmerman hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key on the game’s opening possession, setting up a recurring pattern. In all, Park Hill South’s first six field goals were all 3s, including two apiece for Mackenzie Stout and Raquel Reid. The Panthers led 10-8 after the first quarter and 20-9 at halftime and were not challenged from there.
Sydney Baska made Park Hill South’s first two-pointer with 6 minutes, 41 seconds left in the third quarter to halt a 5-0 Oak Park run to start the half. The Panthers hit nine 3s to just three twos in improving to 2-1 this year against the Lady Oakies.
Truman 70, Park Hill 44
The Trojans scored just three points in the first quarter of a big loss Thursday, Feb. 26 to close out Red Division play and the regular season.
Park Hill (17-8) entered its Tuesday, March 3 semifinal matchup with Park Hill South after going 3-4 in its previous seven games, finishing 6-4 in the division standings and in third place behind Liberty and Truman.In the second loss of the season to Truman, leading scorer Riana Everidge finished with just two points, she did not play in the second half, and Neeser said she is no longer a part of the team.
Park Hill ended up hitting eight 3s to account for more than half of its offense. The Trojans trailed 25-3 after the first quarter.
Katie Reichert hit three 3s and led Park Hill with 11 points, while Amanda Alexander added nine.
Liberty 58, Park Hill South 19
The Panthers went scoreless in the fourth quarter of their regular season finale Friday, Feb. 27 at Liberty and finished with just one win in Red Division play. Stout led the way with a team-high nine points and two of the Panthers’ four 3s.