In a showdown of two top-5 teams, Liberty’s girls basketball team controlled the pace of play and eventually upset previously undefeated Park Hill South on Friday, Jan. 4 at Liberty High School.
Liberty, ranked fifth in the most recent Missouri Basketball Coaches Association’s Class 5 poll, upended No. 3 Park Hill South 44-41 in Suburban Conference Red Division action.
The Panthers (9-1, 3-1) struggled to push their fast-paced offense and make shots, creating a low-scoring affair from the start.
“Offensively I don’t think we played our game,” Panthers coach Josh Dorr said. “We let them dictate what we did. They packed it in on us and I knew they probably would. Instead of taking advantage of what we needed to do in moving the ball and doing those things, we let them do what they wanted to do.”
The Blue Jays (8-2, 2-1) shut down South with strong defense, leading to a 5-5 score after the first quarter. After the Panthers led 15-13 at halftime and 25-22 after the third frame, Liberty forced overtime thanks to a 6-0 run that gave the home side a 30-29 lead with 2 minutes, 21 seconds remaining.
From there, South went 4-for-6 from the free-throw line, while Jillian Fleming scored a two-point bucket and Olivia Nelson went 1-2 on charities to send the contest to overtime.
The Blue Jays scored all their overtime points from the free throw line, as they went 11 of 12 to close it out. Nelson was 8-for-8 on her own in overtime.
The Panthers, however, didn’t score in the extra period until DQ Guillory made a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 39-35 with just under a minute remaining. After a steal, Alecia Westbrook cut the lead to 39-37 with 49 ticks left.
Westbrook and Nelson then traded 2-for-2 efforts on free throws, and Nelson swished two more free throws to make it 43-39 with 22.5 remaining. The Panthers missed on a 3-point try before fouling the Fleming, who sank 1 of 2 freebies to provide a 5-point cushion with 8 ticks left. Guillory scored a two-pointer before the buzzer for the final tallies.
“We settled again and we didn’t adjust to what they’re doing,” Dorr said. “I mean, we came back and tied it up and that was good, but we settled for jump shots instead of doing what got us the lead in the first place. We had too many empty possessions and they took advantage.”
Westbrook led Park Hill South with 16 points. DQ Guillory added 14 and DJ Guillory had 11.
South hosts Truman on Friday, Jan. 11 in Riverside before beginning a tournament on Jan. 14 at Oak Park.
Kearney 59, Platte County 27
For a brief moment, Platte County seemed to have righted the ship after a slow start against Kearney on Thursday, Jan. 3.
Down by 10 early in the first quarter and facing a 24-15 deficit at the break, Jaycie Stubbs drained a 3-pointer to open the second half. Platte County pulled within two possessions for the second time — the other was 21-15 — since the opening minutes.
Down 10 with 5 minutes to play in the third, the Pirates were outscored 12-2 from there and never recovered.
With four minutes left in the fourth, the visiting Bulldogs got up to turbo clock territory against a Pirates squad playing without Hannah Valentine.
Stubbs scored a team-high 13 for Platte County.
Taylor Frizzell had 21 for Kearney, while Emma Couch had 14, eight coming in the first quarter.