LIBERTY, Mo. — The Park Hill South Panthers snapped an early-season two-game skid with a pair of victories in the Patterson Division of the William Jewell Holiday Classic at the Mabee Center.
The Panthers, ranked third in Class 5, notched a convincing 64-25 win over Smithville in Thursday’s opening-round contest.
Then, thanks to a third-quarter push, Park Hill South registered a 69-53 victory over Raytown on Friday, officially punching its ticket to the championship game on Saturday, Dec. 29, against Blue Springs South. The results will be in the next edition of The Citizen.
Prior to Saturday, the Panthers owned a 5-2 record, the two losses coming to Park Hill on Dec. 19 and Lee’s Summit two days later.
Park Hill South held leads of 19-15 after the first quarter and 33-25 at halftime against Raytown. But it was a 19-10 third quarter, which included a 13-2 run to finish the frame, that did Raytown in.
“When you got a chance to spread the lead out, especially Raytown because they came back (to win) two nights ago against Park Hill, so anytime you can stretch the lead against those guys you’re doing something right,” Park Hill South coach Dan Parra said.
During the crucial run, Panthers senior forward Dylan Brougham collected eight of his 12 points in a four-minute span.
“Our guards were attacking not to score as much, attacking and looking more to our bigs,” Parra said. “Because once their guy is committed to stopping our drive, we were passing the ball to Dylan.”
Senior guard Lamel Robinson led Park Hill South with a game-high 24 points, shooting 3-of-7 from deep and 8-of-15 from the field. He also dished out five assists, grabbed six rebounds and created four steals.
“He came out and was hot from 3 and shot it real well,” Parra said of Robinson, a Nebraska-Omaha signee. “After they kind of shut him down he was looking to pass a little more and create more for others, which is really good.”
“I knew they’d run zone, so I figured if I started off making 3s that could draw more eyes to me, and I knew my team was behind me,” Robinson said. “It was a real good win for us because they beat Park Hill and we lost to Park Hill. So I felt as if we had that momentum swing and getting back into a groove.”
Senior guard Desi Williams added 13 points for the Panthers, shooting 5-of-6 from the field with one 3-pointer. He added five assists.
“We started off the season really good and then we kind of hit a lull there where we either got a little too far ahead of ourselves or we weren’t working as hard in practice because we weren’t losing,” Parra said. “Now the last two games we played really well, beating a really good Raytown team and Smithville is kind of the same way.”
Park Hill 60, Kearney 54
Park Hill leading scorers Nic Zeil and Nyk Bryant continued to prove why they’re one of the top scoring duos in the area with strong showings in the William Jewell Holiday Classic at the Mabee Center.
The guard-forward combo couldn’t quite lead Park Hill to an opening-round win, as the Trojans suffered a 65-64 overtime loss to Kansas City Center on Thursday, Dec. 27.
But the following day, the pair combined for 49 points as Park Hill picked up a come-from-behind 60-54 victory against Kearney to split its first two Holiday Classic games in the Cardinal Division.
The Trojans used a 21-point fourth quarter to race past Kearney. Park Hill trailed 17-9 after the first quarter, 32-25 at halftime and 43-39 after three quarters. Park Hill also relied on strong second-half defense, as it allowed 11 points apiece in the final two frames.
“The kids showed a lot of heart and a lot of effort down the stretch,” Trojans coach Chad Jones said. “We were down 10, 12, 15 points at times, even in the third quarter late, but the kids never quit. That’s a credit to how hard they played and just their mental and physical toughness against a very good Kearney team.”
“We started off the game a little slow, we just let them get comfortable,” said Bryant, who scored 21 in the win over Kearney. “But Coach Jones told us to buckle down and play defense and get back in the game. And that’s what we did today.”
Zeil, a senior forward and a Truman State pledge, notched a double-double with a game-high 28 points and 11 rebounds.
“Big credit to our two horses, the Nic-Nyk combination,” Jones said. “They absolutely were men out there today. … It’s been the story all year. They’ve been our two leading scorers every game, save one I think, but they’re just tough.”
“Just getting to my spots on offense,” Bryant said of his scoring successes. “And if the lay-up’s not there then just pulling up for the jump shot. My teammates set me up.”
With the win, Park Hill (7-3) advanced to the fifth-place game on Saturday, Dec. 29, where they took on Lee’s Summit.
Park Hill South 64, Smithville 25
The Panthers had little trouble in the opening round against Smithville, who fell to 1-7 with the loss.
Four Park Hill South players registered double digits. Robinson led the way with 14 points, while Brougham and Dawson Owen scored 11 points apiece and Williams had 10.
The Panthers scored 22 points in each of the first two quarters while holding Smithville to just 15 points in the first half to take a commanding 44-15 lead at the half. South held Smithville to 10 points in the second half, all in the third quarter.
Defensively, Park Hill South created 28 turnovers, collecting 16 steals. Robinson had seven steals, while Garrett Lee had four.
Center 65, Park Hill 64, OT
The Trojans lost their opening-round game in an overtime thriller.
After Park Hill led 24-21 at halftime, Center blitzed the Trojans with a 20-11 third quarter. Park Hill countered with a 21-15 fourth quarter to send the game into overtime.
But Center edged the Trojans in the extra period, 9-8, to advance to a Cardinal Division semifinal game.
Bryant led the Trojans with 27 points against Center. Zeil added a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds while blocking four shots. Ryan Graves chipped in nine points for the Trojans.