KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the first time in 13 years, the Park Hill South girls basketball team won a championship at the 39th annual Winnetonka Invitational.
The Class 5 No. 6-ranked Panthers picked up three wins, capping it with a 55-34 victory over Raymore-Peculiar in the championship game on Friday, Nov. 30 at Winnetonka High School.
The Panthers played only one other game — beating Blue Springs South —but got three wins after Kansas City Northeast forfeited a game on the tournament’s opening day on Monday, Nov. 26.
The highlight of the tournament for the Panthers had to be the sudden emergence of freshman Jaidynn Mason, who scored 35 points in two games.
Mason and teammate DeQuaria Guillory made the all-tournament team for Park Hill South.
“After losing the ones we lost, she gives us someone who can score,” Park Hill South coach Josh Dorr said of his freshman that made five 3-pointers in two games. “Basketball is her thing. I have known about her for a couple years because my wife was a middle school counselor where she went.”
Mason and De’Jaraia Guillory did the damage in the first quarter, combining for 12 of the Panthers’ 19 points. Up 19-10 over Ray-Pec after a quarter, a 15-4 scoring advantage in the second quarter put the game out of reach early.
DeQuaria Guillory hit a pair of 3s and Mason added another in the second quarter, giving the Panthers a 34-14 lead. Mason finished with 15 points, while DeQuaria Guillory had 12 and her sister, De’Jaria Guillory, added 10.
Aspen Green had 10 to lead Ray-Pec’s offense, all coming in the second half.
Park Hill South 59,
Blue Springs South 39
In a game that was closer than the final score indicated, the Panthers picked up a win in the semifinals on Thursday, Nov. 29.
The difference in the win came down to a surge late in the third quarter that turned a close game into a blowout win.
Park Hill South trailed once in the contest, at 3-2, when Lauren Gillig hit a 3-pointer for the Jaguars, but led 18-10 after the first 8 minutes. A 6-0 surge in the final 1 ½ minutes featured baskets from Mason, Guillory and De’Jaria Guillory.
Park Hill South led 30-24 at the break, but a slow start in the third quarter opened the door for a rally for Blue Springs South. The Jaguars got within 31-28 after a basket and a free throw from Gillig.
Park Hill South didn’t score a basket for the first 3-plus minutes of the frame, hitting only one free throw, Gillig pulled the Jaguars within a bucket with 4:29 to play.
A 3-pointer by DeQuaria Guillory on the next possession extended the Panthers’ lead. Hannah Smith scored to make it 34-30, but a double dribble, offensive foul and turnover on the next three possession for the Jaguars turned into a 9-0 run for the Panthers.
Once down a bucket, the deficit grew to 43-30 and the Jaguars never recovered.
“They can do that,” Dorr of his team’s spurt. “Luckily, we have the talent to do that from time to time.”
Blue Springs South was down 14 going into the fourth and cut it down to seven, but never got any closer.
“The first and third quarter we really struggled with turnovers,” Blue Springs South coach Kory Lower said. “We didn’t give ourself an opportunity when we didn’t even attempt a shot.”
Mason had 20 in the win, while DeQuaria Guillory had 13. All-Stater Alecia Westbrook was limited to only four points in the victory.
“We got to find ways to get her the ball more,” Dorr said of his Division I commit, who is headed to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “If we can get her more involved, the sky is the limit. That is what we are looking for.”