LIBERTY, Mo. — Park Hill continues to face big test after big test. The Trojans have passed them all so far.
Despite a slow second quarter, Park Hill came back to beat Raytown 58-54 on Friday, Dec. 30 in the championship game of Patterson Division in the William Jewell Holiday Classic. Dru Smith hit two key free throws in the closing seconds to put the Trojans up three points, and junior Ronnie Bell continued his breakout season with a team-high 17 points.
Park Hill improved to 10-0 and could move up again in this week’s Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Class 5 poll, coming in at No. 6 but now with wins over ranked Park Hill South and a tournament title since.
“It feels really good to pull one out, especially a big championship game,” Bell said.
Park Hill trailed at halftime and went into the fourth quarter down 45-43. In a tight final eight minutes, Park Hill went ahead 54-50 on back-to-back inside baskets from sophomore Roman Wilson and senior Chester Graves.
Raytown fought back within one with 21.2 seconds to play, and Smith hit his two free throws with 15.5 seconds to go.
A late 3-pointer from Isiah Burton rimmed out, and he finished with a game-high 18 points. The Blue Jays knocked the loose ball rebound out of bounds to seal the win for Park Hill.
Park Hill led 12-2 in the first quarter before Raytown fought back and forced the Trojans to come up with another comeback.
“I kind of feel like we took our foot off the pedal in the second quarter, and they got back into it,” Bell said. “At halftime, we came together and were like, ‘Look we aren’t going to go away,’ and we had to come back and that’s what we did.”
Graves and Smith scored 14 points apiece, continuing to show off Park Hill’s balance during the undefeated start. The Trojans return to action on Friday, Jan. 6 at Lee’s Summit North in their second Suburban Conference Gold Division game of the season.
“Hopefully we can keep things going,” Bell said. “We’re going game by game of course, and we’ll just keep taking care of business.”
Park Hill 54, Center 42
Bell’s 26 points helped the Trojans overcome a slow start and win a semifinal between unbeatens Thursday, Dec. 29 in Liberty, Mo.
Center, which upset Liberty North in the opening round, bolted to a 17-11 lead after the first quarter but trailed at halftime. Park Hill pulled away in the second half behind Bell and a slew of free throws. The Trojans went 22-for-30 at the line overall but didn’t hit a 3-pointer.
Smith added 12 points for Park Hill.
Park Hill 73, KC East 34
The Trojans dropped in nine 3-pointers in a balanced scoring effort to take an easy first round win Tuesday, Dec. 27 in Liberty, Mo.
Bell and Ryan Graves hit three triples apiece, while senior Tyvione Stewart added two more. Eleven different players scored for Park Hill, which bolted to a 44-17 lead at halftime.
With all the scorers, only Smith (14 points) and Bell (11 points) finished in double figures.