The Park Hill South players still had a game from Dec. 18 in the forefront of memory.
That was the date that the state-ranked Panthers lost to rival Park Hill at Hyvee Arena.
A little more than two months later, the Panthers extracted a bit of revenge and then some by topping the Trojans, 63-30, in the Class 5 District 16 at the CHS Coliseum at Central High School.
“This is the one that counts,” Park Hill South player Dawson Owen said of the win. “The first time at Hyvee Arena we fell short in the fourth quarter. There is no feeling like it, there is more down the road, but this will feel a 100 better if we win the next one.”
Park Hill South initially fell behind 1-0 but then went on an 11-0 run to set the tone for the night. Anthony Bell had six of his 10 points — he finished with a double-double with 10 rebounds — during the run for Park Hill.
“The Hyvee taste, I’m sure, was still in their mouth so to speak,” Park Hill coach Chad Jones said of the loss. “It just wasn’t our night.”
A late outburst by Nyk Bryant helped the Trojans pull within 15-9 at the end of 8 minutes of play.
Baskets from Desi Williams, Lamel Robinson and Dylan Brougham scored early in the second quarter and the lead expanded to 29-10. At halftime, the Panthers led 30-12.
“We controlled the tempo and didn’t let them play at their pace,” said Owen, who had 10 points and 11 rebounds. “The coach put in a perfect game plan. We knew all their strengths and tendencies and we did whatever we could to shut them down.”
The Nyk-and-Nic show helped the Trojans close the gap early in the third, as Bryant and Zeil scored in the opening four minutes to make it 34-19 — the lowest deficit since early in the second quarter. Bryant had a team-high 10 points for the Trojans.
Then, 9-0 run gave the Panthers a 43-19 lead by the end of the frame the top-seeded squad led 49-26.
“We’ve done that before, against Staley we were up 20, 15 and 18 and they came back,” Park Hill South coach Dan Parra said. “We talked about finishing. We’ve hit double digits lead at halftime and seen it disappear. I thought the third quarter was huge. We kept the double-digit lead.”
Robinson, who had 19 points, hit a pair of free throws early in the fourth and Desi Williams added two free throws with 3:26 left to make it 57-27, temporarily starting the turbo clock, but a 3-pointer from Ryan Graves ended that.
With a minute left, the Panthers got the largest lead of the game and that was also the final score.
“We had a hard time putting the ball in the hole and South did a good job of playing defense and making shots,” Jones said. “When you make shots it looks easy and when you don’t, it looks ugly. That was kind of the whole game tonight.”
Park Hill 60, Staley 53
For the second year in a row, the Trojans ended the season for the Falcons in the district playoffs.
This win came on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at Central High School.
The contest was close at halftime, with the Trojans leading 25-24. In the third quarter they made their move by scoring 18 and limiting Staley to nine — seven scored by Stone Kenderick.
Tavian Josenberger had seven of his 15 points in the third, while Nyk Bryant had six of his 15 in the third.
Park Hill hit 18 free throws in the fourth, hitting 12 of them.
Park Hill South 88, Oak Park 62
The Panthers avoided an early district exit by beating the Northmen on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at Central High School.
The three big stars in the game combined for 88 points. Park Hill South’s Lamel Robinson added 27, while Desi Williams scored 17.
Oak Park’s Ahmad Louis scored 44 — including a 14 for 18 effort from the free-throw line — for Oak Park.
Louis was steady all game, but the rest of his team had only 18 points.
Park Hill South led 25-9 after the first quarter with Louis scoring all of Oak Park’s points. The Panthers expanded the lead to 39-24 at the break. Louis had 14 of Oak Park’s 21 in the third, the only quarter the Northmen outscored Park Hill South.
A 25-point fourth quarter for the Panthers featured six from Williams and five by Robinson.
The Panthers open the Class 5 playoffs with a 3 p.m. tipoff Wednesday, March 6, against William Chrisman at the Silverstein Eyes Center in Independence. Park Hill South is 18-7, while Chrisman is 19-8.
This is the first playoff berth for the Panthers in two years. That season, Park Hill South lost by a point to Liberty North.
“This is sweet,” Parra said after the district finals win. “These guys were out the last two years in the first round. Last year by Rockhurst and the year before against North Kansas City. It is sweet for the seniors. They were freshmen when we won it last and now they have been starters for three or four years.”
This is the seventh playoff berth for Park Hill South and the previous trips resulted in two runners-up finishes and a fourth-place showing.
Chrisman is in the postseason for the first time since 2009 and the 23rd time overall in school history — the first came in 1929.
Later on Wednesday, another Class 5 sectional game pits Lee’s Summit North (24-8) vs. Blue Springs South (18-9). The winner of that game will face the winner of the Park Hill South/Chrisman game at 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 9 at the same location.