South basketball's Kline, Lee choose to stay close to home

A pair of Park Hill South seniors chose a hometown school to continue their basketball careers.

Citizen file photos Park Hill South seniors Connor Lee, top, and Jake Kline, bottom, recently signed to play basketball at Park University.

Citizen file photos
Park Hill South seniors Connor Lee, top, and Jake Kline, bottom, recently signed to play basketball at Park University.

Jake Kline and Connor Lee signed with Park University in Parkville, Mo. during a ceremony Wednesday, April 12 at Park Hill South High School in Riverside, Mo. Kline will play for his father, longtime Park coach Jason Kline.

A three-year starter, Jake Kline earned All-Class 5 District 14 honors after his senior season, averaging 10.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists. He helped Park Hill South to two Class 5 playoff appearances in his career, but the Panthers were ousted in the district semifinals this past season.

Jake Kline’s most memorable performance came in a Class 5 semifinal upset of Chaminade in 2014. A sophomore inserted into the starting lineup late in the year, Kline hit a pair of 3s and hit a pair of crucial free throws to help send the Panthers into the state title game where they lost to Blue Springs South.

A two-year contributor, Lee served as the undersized forward in Park Hill South’s guard-heavy lineup this season. He averaged 7.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game — the rebound total leading the Panthers.

Park made the NAIA National Tournament each of the past two seasons.

Justin Thompson, a seldom-used reserve, also signed on Wednesday. He plans to attend NAIA Sterling College, located in Sterling, Kan.