BASEHOR, Kan. — For the first time this season, Park Hill faces adversity.
The Trojans lost their final two games of the Basehor-Linwood Invitational last week, including the third-place game on Saturday, Jan. 21 at Basehor-Linwood High School. Ottawa put up big offense in a 76-67 victory, just two days after Park Hill stumbled in a low-scoring contest.
Park Hill lost two straight for the first time this season, falling to 12-3 overall after being ranked as high as No. 6 in the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Class 5 poll this season. The Trojans have lost three of their past five, going into a Tuesday, Jan. 24 at Raymore-Peculiar.
The result was not available at The Citizen’s deadline, but Park Hill had two more home games scheduled in a busy and important week.
“We have two home games so we want to make sure we take care of our home court and do business right,” said Park Hill junior Ronnie Bell, who scored a team-high 20 points vs. Ottawa. “We have to bounce back for sure; we’ve got a lot to prove.”
Only six players scored for Park Hill against Ottawa, but four were in double figures with Bell leading the way.
The quartet did enough to help keep the Trojans close, but facing a four-point deficit late, Bell couldn’t hit key shots needed to spur a comeback. Ottawa went 28-for-32 on free throws, and Isaac McCullough and Devion Bethea combined for 59 points.
“We just need to make more clean shots,” Park Hill coach Chad Jones said. “We had our best player with a couple of clean looks when it was a four-point game with feet behind him and just missed a couple.
“Ottawa has a good team and they didn’t miss very many free-throws and we missed a ton.”
Park Hill went just 15 of 25 at the line.
Bell did hit a pair of free throws to close the Trojans within 65-60 with about 3 minutes left, but they couldn’t come any closer. Roman Wilson and Cecil Lee contributed 14 points apiece, while Chester Graves had 10.
Dru Smith, a senior guard, continued to struggle on offense and finished with just six points on a pair of 3-pointers.
All three games for Park Hill this week will be in Suburban Conference Gold Division play. The Trojans opened with a 2-1 mark in league after splitting a pair of games with Lee’s Summit North and Blue Springs ahead of the Basehor tournament.
Basehor-Linwood (Kan.) 45, Park Hill 37
The Trojans suffered an upset loss in their second first-round game, sending them into the third-place game.
The offense uncharacteristically struggled Thursday, Jan. 19 in Basehor, Kan. Park Hill led 21-15 at halftime but scored just one point in the third quarter. Bell finished with 15 points, but the Trojans made just 10 field goals total while scoring 14 points on free throws.
Smith hit two 3-pointers but finished with just six points.
Park Hill 69, Schlagle (Kan.) 48
The Trojans hit 10 3s in their opening pool play game of the tournament Wednesday, Jan. 18 in Basehor, Kan.
Bell and senior Tyione Stewart hit four apiece, combining for 36 points. Park Hill hit only 22 field goals total and pulled away with a strong third quarter, limiting the Stallions to just six points.