A frantic-at-times Park Hill South girls basketball team was far from perfect during last week’s Oak Park tournament. But, at the end of the week-long tourney, the Panthers walked away with some hardware and two more tallies in the win column.
And, as Panthers head coach Josh Dorr said after his squad placed third, they learned some lessons along the way, too.
“It’s a good win. You always want to win, obviously, but I think it was a good one to take away some learning moments there at the end,” he said. “We allowed their press to speed us up a little bit. We have to learn from that.”
Those valuable lessons stem from Park Hill South’s 55-51 victory over Liberty North in the Oak Park third-place contest on Thursday, Jan. 17. To get there, the Panthers handled Wyandotte (Kan.) 78-9 before falling to the tourney hosts 56-44.
Senior forward Alecia Westbrook was named to the all-tourney team for her efforts. Westbrook, a 6-foot-1 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi commit, played the role of closer as the Panthers held off Liberty North late.
Westbrook scored half of her team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter and hit all six of her free throw attempts in the final two minutes of play. She was 2-for-2 twice to break a tie, once with 1:51 remaining and the other time with 1:06 left. Westbrook’s final freebies came with 2.7 ticks left to seal the win.
“Knock on wood, we’re a good free throw shooting team,” Dorr said. “It’s a big confidence boost when you see a leader step up and hit those and I knew she could.”
Liberty North (9-7), who at one point trailed 34-24 late in the third quarter, tied the game at 45-45 with 3:08 remaining. The Eagles took a brief lead at 48-47 with 1:27 left before Brooke Jones cashed in on a field goal, and the Panthers registered three steals in the final minute to stay in the lead for good.
Dorr said there’s plenty to take away, however, from the final minutes.
“We’re going to have to be able to finish games a little better than we finished that one,” he said. “(We needed to ) slow down, take a deep breath. A press’ intent is to speed you up and we let it. Then we gave them a chance to get back on the game.”
Junior guard DJ Guillory added 13 points for the Panthers. Jayme Jackson led the Eagles with 14 points.
Oak Park 56, Park Hill South 44
The Panthers fell victim to a standout performance against the tournament hosts in the semifinals.
Junior Paige Allen poured in 42 points to send Oak Park into the championship game. Allen tallied 20 points in the first quarter and registered nine total 3-pointers against Park Hill South.
“Her and Alecia play on a travel team together so they’re good buddies,” Dorr said. “I told (Allen) before we played that I knew she’d give us everything she got. They like to go at each other. It’s fun to watch, but this time she got the best of us.”
Thanks to Allen, the Lady Oakies jumped out to a 24-10 lead after the first quarter. The Panthers closed the gap in the second quarter, making the contest a 31-27 at halftime. But Park Hill South managed just six points in the third quarter as Oak Park stretched the lead to 45-33 headed into the final frame.
Westbrook led Park Hill South with 19 points, and freshman guard Jaidynn Mason added 18 and six 3-pointers.
Park Hill South 64, St. Joseph Central 58
DQ Guillory recorded 18 first-half points before going on to lead all scorers with 23 in Park Hill South’s Suburban Red conference victory over St. Joseph Central on Monday, Jan. 21 in St. Joseph.
As the Panthers trailed 15-9 after the first quarter, Guillory, a 5-foot-6 junior guard, stepped up. Guillory made three treys and totaled 14 points in the second frame to knot the score 30-all at halftime.
Park Hill South, who improved to 12-2, held the Indians to nine points in the third quarter to take a 45-39 lead into the final frame.
Despite Central’s Ella Moody, who scored 15 of her 20 points in the fourth quarter, the Panthers held on for victory as the two sides matched each other with 19 points apiece in the quarter.
Westbrook added 11 points for Park Hill South, who hosts Liberty North for a league matchup at 7 p.m. Friday.
Platte County 64, Lee’s Summit 36
Jaycie Stubbs became the sixth member of the Platte County girls basketball program’s 1,000-point club on Thursday, Jan. 17 at Lee’s Summit High School.
Stubbs, a senior guard, scored 10 points in the non-conference victory, the Pirates’ third straight win. Stubbs is the first Pirates’ girls player to reach the milestone since 2010, when Kelsey Knox and Taylor Johnson accomplished the feat.
The Pirates took a 41-16 lead in the first half against the Tigers.
Freshman Amaya Blake scored a game-high 28 points. She hit three 3-pointers and connected on 11 of 12 free throws. Shayla Kohler led the team in assists (3) and rebounds (9).
Platte County 59, St. Joseph Lafayette 27
Platte County held St. Joseph Lafayette to single digits in each quarter on Tuesday, Jan. 15 in St. Joseph.
Jaycie Stubbs and Amaya Blake play big parts in the drubbing.
Stubbs scored 13 of her 18 points in the first quarter, getting her scoring going with three straight 3-pointers. Blake recorded 20 of her game-high 23 points in the first half, with 13 coming in the second quarter.
The Pirates held the Irish (2-13) to four points in the first quarter and led 40-12 at the half.
Park Hill postponed
The only game on the schedule last week for the Trojans as a Suburban Conference Gold Division game on Thursday, Jan. 17. The game was postponed until Feb. 20. A similar fortune followed on Tuesday, Jan. 22, when a road game at Blue Springs was called off due to weather. There is no makeup date for that scheduled yet.