KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Park Hill ended up with just enough time to steal away the Winnetonka Tournament’s Gold Division championship.
After losing an eight-point lead in the final 3 minutes, the Trojans grabbed one last chance against St. Joseph Lafayette in the title game. Tiayia Bryant, a sophomore guard, hustled down the right side of the court in the waning seconds and hit a shot at the buzzer to deliver a 57-56 victory Friday, Dec. 2 at Winnetonka High School.
“The only thing I was thinking as she was driving down the right side of the floor was please get a shot off in time; give us a chance,” Park Hill coach Aaron Neeser said.
With two defenders on her tail, Bryant went in for the shot. After it went down, the players jumped up to celebrate the victory that seemed unlikely moments earlier.
Teammates said Bryant, a first-year starter, practices those types of situations all the time.
“I wasn’t really thinking. I just threw it up,” said Bryant, who finished with a team-high 18 points.
Park Hill started slow and fell behind 28-20 at halftime.
Lafayette continually fed 6-foot-2 senior center Ashlyn Dotson, who finished with 28 points. Park Hill continued to stay balanced and eventually caught up and took a big lead late in the fourth quarter.
Alex Berger finished with 14 points, while Morgen Smith added 12 for Park Hill in a game that featured one big and one small comeback.
“The kids showed a competitive fire and desire to win,” Neeser said. “We didn’t play pretty basketball at times, but the kids stuck with what we have been really preaching in practice.”
Center 40, Park Hill South 24
The Panthers ended up dropping their final two games in the Gold Division bracket, finishing with a disappointing loss in the third-place game Friday, Dec. 2 at Winnetonka High School.
Center dominated the final three quarters and held Park Hill South without a point in the final 8 minutes. Panthers senior guard Grace Cunningham scored 10 while sophomore center Alecia Westbrook added nine.
Only four players scored for Park Hill South, struggling to put up points in the early portion of the schedule.
“Offensively, thought we need to score more,” Park Hill South coach Josh Dorr said. “We are doing some things in practice that will hopefully transfer over to the games and help with our scoring output the rest of the way.”
In his first season at Park Hill South, Dorr also took some positives out of a 1-2 showing at the tournament.
“I think it was good to come out of the tournament with a higher place than we were seeded. That is definitely a positive we can build off of,” he said. “I think our defense has been playing at a high level so far.”
Park Hill 42, Center 32
The Trojans advanced to the championship game behind 21 points for Bryant in a semifinal Thursday, Dec. 1 in Kansas City, Mo.
Park Hill led 27-16 at halftime before both teams struggled to score in the second half. Bryant and Taiya Shelby combined for 32 points, while the Trojans shot just 12 of 23 on free throws.
Park Hill 66, Winnetonka 33
Berger hit three 3-pointers on her way to 20 points for the Trojans in an opening round matchup for the Gold Bracket on Tuesday, Nov. 29 in Kansas City, Mo.
Gigi Hopkins scored 11, while Shelby and Smith put up 10 apiece. Bryant added nine points in a balanced showing. The Trojans scored 23 in each of the first two quarters to build a 46-17 lead before coasting to the finish.
St. Joseph Lafayette 37, Park Hill South 36
The Panthers couldn’t overcome a dismal offensive showing in the second and third quarters of their semifinal matchup Thursday, Dec. 1 in Kansas City, Mo.
Park Hill South led 16-10 after the first quarter but scored just one point in the second quarter and three in the third quarter. The Panthers again scored 16 in the final 8 minutes but couldn’t quite complete the comeback.
Westbrook had 13 points for Park Hill South, which had only five players score. The Panthers hit five 3-pointers, including two for De’Jaria Guillory.
Park Hill South 53, Grandview 14
The Panthers allowed only four points in the second half of a first round matchup in the Gold Division on Tuesday, Nov. 29 in Kansas City, Mo.
Westbrook had a game-high 15 points, while De’Jaria Guillory and Dymeria Guillory combined for 22. Park Hill South led 30-12 at halftime.
Platte County 56, Pembroke Hill 41
The Pirates finished with the consolation title of the Cardinal Bracket with a win Thursday, Dec. 1 in Kansas City, Mo. — their third game in four days.
Platte County improved to 3-1 on the season with 42 points in the paint. Rockey Chambers, a junior guard, led the Pirates with 14 points while Hannah Valentine (11) and Ava White (10) also finished in double figures.
After losing in the first round, Platte County won by double figures in its next two. The Pirates had 24 offensive rebounds against Pembroke Hill, and White just missed a double-double with nine rebounds.
Taylor Farr, a sophomore guard, had six points, six assists and six rebounds for Platte County.
Park Hill 62, Oak Park 47
The Trojans improved to 4-0 on the season behind a big fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 5 in Kansas City, Mo.
Tied after three quarters, Park Hill outscored Oak Park 25-10 in the final 8 minutes to pull away. Berger (nine points) and Bryant (18 points) combined to hit five 3-pointers, and Hopkins added 14 points. The Trojans hit 19 of 31 free throws.
Blue Springs South 62, Park Hill South 34
The Panthers weren’t able to get the offense going until the second half of a nonconference matchup Monday, Dec. 5 in Riverside, Mo.
In total, Park Hill South shot only 10 free throws and didn’t have a double-digit scorer. De’Jaria Guillory led the Panthers with nine points. Blue Springs South held a 32-12 advantage at halftime.