KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Park Hill South junior DeQuaria Guillory put a lot of attention on her outside shot over the last week of practice and the extra work paid off in a big way.
A career-high four 3-pointers for the speedy guard helped the Panthers to a 58-53 win over rival Park Hill on Wednesday, Dec. 20 at Park Hill High School. Three came in the first half to help the Panthers weather a tough stretch with leading scorer Alecia Westbrook on the bench in foul trouble for most of the first quarter.
Westbrook returned in the second half with a perfect 10-for-10 effort on free throws in the fourth quarter, protecting the lead Guillory helped build.
“It just comes from being in the gym,” Guillory said. “I went full speed in the shooting drills to make sure I was on. We worked on shooting a lot in practice this week. I noticed my shot was a little flat last week so I worked on getting it up.”
Westbrook finished with a game-high 25 points after a 12-point outburst in the fourth quarter. She took full advantage of Park Hill putting Park Hill South in the double bonus early. The Panthers were 15-for-17 at the line overall in a lengthy fourth quarter with senior Kate Eischens also going 5-of-6.
A 6-foot-1 junior, Westbrook showed off her all-around game with the clutch performance at the line — an area of concern a year ago in an up and down first season for Park Hill South under coach Josh Dorr.
“(Alecia)’s our best free-throw shooter,” he said. “We shoot free throws every day at practice. We’ve probably shot hundreds of free throws a piece by now. We know all of the percentages so I know exactly who I want shooting free throws.”
Park Hill was also without its leading scorer for most of the first half after senior Taiya Shelby picked up two fouls in the game’s first 3 minutes.
TT Bryant — a junior guard and the only other player with significant experience from the Trojans run to the Class 5 quarterfinals last season — stepped up in the absence with a 20-point game. Despite the limited minutes, Shelby still paced the Trojans in the first quarter with seven of her 15 points before taking a seat on the bench until halftime.
With Shelby on the bench, Guillory hit two of her 3-pointers to draw Park Hill South within 13-11 entering the second quarter.
“(Guillory’s) our second leading scorer,” Dorr said. “When she’s going, it’s going to help us out a ton. I think it helped key everyone else going because it opened Alecia on the inside. Everyone she took, I knew she could make. It wasn’t super surprising but with the way we’ve been shooting in games, it made it more surprising.
“Five 3s tonight is easily the most, we can’t shoot right now but we’ll figure it out.”
Bryant came on strong in the second quarter with eight of her 20 points. Unlike Shelby,
Westbrook played most of the second quarter despite the two fouls. She scored eight in the second quarter as well and never picked up her third personal.
“That worried me a little bit,” Dorr said. “It was kind of a goofy little foul, a quick foul, but I knew that first one wasn’t good. I think it takes her off of her game, but again, she is also really smart about it. I started playing her in the first half with two fouls because she’s smart about it.”
Park Hill South seniors Raquel Reid (eight points) and Dymeria Guillory (three) rounded out the Panthers’ offense. They helped stop a six-game losing streak to Park Hill, which had won each matchup between the rivals since an overtime loss in districts to finish the 2013-14 season.
The holiday break will be short for Park Hill South (6-0), which travels to Florida for the KSA Events Holiday Tournament this weekend. The Panthers open with John Jayn (N.Y.).
Park Hill dropped to 3-5 on the season with a fourth straight loss entering the holiday break. Jayden Dorrel (seven), Avery Mertz (five), Teresa Thomas (four) and Hannah Graves (two) completed the scoresheet for the Trojans.
Platte County 48, Grain Valley 41
The Pirates closed on an 18-3 run to steal a victory in a quickly scheduled replacement game played Wednesday, Dec. 20 in Grain Valley, Mo.
The future Suburban Conference Blue Division foes both filled a hole on the scheduled with the pre-holiday matchup. Grain Valley led much of the way, but Platte County rallied from a five-point deficit to lead by as much as 10.
Hannah Valentine, a junior guard, continued her strong play for Platte County, scoring a game-high 14 points. Her basket with 5:28 left tied it at 35, and a pair of free throws from junior Meghan Amos put the Pirates ahead for good.
Platte County won’t play again until a Jan. 4 Blue Division opener with Belton. The Pirates are 6-4, having won three straight to start the year, losing the next four and then running off another three-game winning streak.