Park Hill South’s “heart and soul” recently joined an exclusive club.
Desi Williams surpassed 1,000 career points as he scored 14 points in the Panthers’ crucial 60-46 Suburban Conference Red victory over Liberty North on Friday, Jan. 25 at Park Hill South High School.
Williams, who ahead of the game only needed three points, became the sixth Park Hill South boys player to reach the milestone. Senior guard Lamel Robinson, of course, surpassed 1,000 points last season.
“He’s been the leader that leads us on and off the court,” Panthers coach Dan Parra said of Williams. “He’s the spokesperson for us. He’s the one that gets everyone going in practice. Lamel’s the quiet one and Desi is the one that gets everyone hyped. He’s been kind of the heart and soul of our team the last three years.”
Williams said he was happy to reach the milestone with an important victory, one that pushed Park Hill South near the top of the standings and Liberty North to 5-1 in the Suburban Red.
“It means a lot,” Williams said. “It sums up all the work, the sweat, the tears and all the hard work that I put in on that court over the years. It’s a big accomplish and my team put the ball in my hands and they trust me and I went out there and tried to make plays. It means a lot.”
“We knew this was a big one for us,” Williams said of the win. “We just went about it like college players should, being prepared and focused every day on the game. That’s what we tried to do.”
“They were undefeated,” Parra said. “They were in first place and everyone was gunning for them and for us to lose on our home court would have been killer. We’d have to win and hope for help. But right now if we just take care of business the rest of the way, we’ll be there with somebody.”
The Panthers, who led 18-12 after the first quarter, used a 13-2 run to take a 28-14 lead midway through the second frame.
After Park Hill South took a 30-20 lead into the break, Liberty North began the third quarter with a 7-0 run to trim the lead to three. But the Panthers then put together an 11-5 run to finish the frame with a 41-32 lead.
Williams and Robinson then scored 15 of the Panthers’ 19 in the fourth quarter to close out the contest. They went a combined 7 of 8 from the free throw line down the stretch.
Robinson led all scorers with four treys and 21 points, while Carter Erickson scored 14 to pace the Eagles.
The Panthers, last year’s outright Suburban Red champions, returned to conference play against Lee’s Summit at home on Tuesday night, but the result was not available before press time. They’ll then dip out of league play and hit the road Friday for a 7 p.m. tip time at Lee’s Summit North.
Also of note, Park Hill South’s conference game against St. Joseph Central scheduled for Jan. 23 was rescheduled to Wednesday, Feb. 6 in St. Joseph due to weather.
Lee’s Summit 54, Park Hill 42
Lee’s Summit earned its second victory over Park Hill this season on Saturday, Jan. 26 at Lee’s Summit High School.
After a slow first quarter that saw the Tigers (7-12) take a 9-6 lead, Lee’s Summit tallied 28 points in the second frame to take a 37-23 advantage at halftime.
The Trojans (11-6) kept pace the rest of the way, scoring 12 apiece in the third and fourth quarters, but failed to make a run at Lee’s Summit. The Tigers scored 14 in the third and 11 in the final frame.
Sam Lock led Lee’s Summit with a game-high 24 points.
Nic Zeil led the Trojans with 11 points.
The Trojans returned to league action Tuesday night, but the result was not available before press time. Park Hill hosts Lee’s Summit West for another league contest at 7 p.m. Friday.
Pleasant Hill 61, Platte County 57
In another Grain Valley Invitational contest, Platte County’s comeback attempt fell short against Pleasant Hill on Thursday, Jan. 24 in the Grain Valley/Sonic Invitational.
After a fairly even first half, which ended with the Pirates leading 24-23, Platte County (4-11) saw Pleasant Hill rattle off a 23 points in the third frame.
With the Pirates facing a 46-37 deficit ahead of the fourth quarter, Platte County chipped away, but couldn’t quite make the comeback despite out-scoring Pleasant Hill 20-15 in the period.
Wright and Anthony Barlow led Platte County with 10 points apiece. Barlow sunk two 3-pointers. Ethan Esdohr and Justin Barkley each added nine points. Wood contributed eight rebounds and four assists.
The Pirates played Raytown South Tuesday night, but the result was unavailable before press time. Platte County is at Kearney at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Fort Osage 50, Platte County 36
Platte County couldn’t climb out of an early hole as Fort Osage claimed an opening-round win during the Grain Valley/Sonic Invitational on Tuesday, Jan. 22.
The Indians jumped out to a 16-5 lead after the first quarter. They then held the Pirates to six points in the second quarter to take a 26-11 lead into the break.
Platte County matched Fort Osage in the third quarter and out-scored the Indians in the fourth — 15-14 — but it wasn’t enough.
Dylan Gilbert led the Pirates with 11 points, with Dawson Wood contributing eight points of his own. Brady Wright and Joey Schultz grabbed six rebounds apiece.
Park Hill 76, Blue Springs 57
The Wildcats dominated most of the first quarter and held a double-digit lead after the opening frame. From there, Park Hill found a way to rally and ultimately surged ahead in the second half on the way for a victory on Wednesday, Jan. 23 at Park Hill High School.
Blue Springs opened on a 9-0 run and led 23-10 after the opening quarter.
Foul trouble led to the Wildcats going to the bench in the second quarter and that opened the door for the Trojans (11-5) to cut into the deficit. Park Hill hit 9 of 13 free throws in the second quarter and pulled with 30-27 at halftime.
The outcome turned in favor of the home team, winners of three in a row, when the Trojans scored 32 points in the third quarter. Park Hill got 14 points from Truman State signee Nic Zeil, who had a game-high 21.
Park Hill had seven 3-point plays in the frame: four 3-pointers and a trio of old-fashioned three-point conversions. The Trojans had an 11-0 run and later an 11-2 run in the frame after being tied 32-32 in the third.
“We didn’t start off real well,” Park Hill coach Chad Jones said. “We made a couple of adjustments and we did a good job of doing what I asked and we were down a couple going into the halftime. Then Nic and Nyk (Bryant) dominated the third quarter. Thirty-two is a big number. Credit for our guys for making adjustments.”
Park Hill led by 19 after three quarters and the lead grew to 25 points in the fourth, which featured the ejection of a Wildcat player for throwing Drew Townsend down on the court.
Bryant had 19 and Ryan Graves scored 10 for Park Hill.
“I don’t know if I felt that bad in the first quarter and had almost a 30-point spread in the fourth quarter,” Jones said. “It was very strange. They came out hard and aggressive and we didn’t match their energy. We need to do a better job of playing 32 minutes.”