RIVERSIDE, Mo. — Park Hill South made its living early by the 3-point shot in the opening game of the Panthers’ Suburban Conference White Division play against Liberty North on Friday, Jan. 12 at Park Hill South High School.
Joe Badalluco hit three-first quarter 3s to stake the Panthers to an early advantage but after the half the deep shot quit falling and the Eagles chipped away at the lead before taking the game 60-56.
“Joe shoots it well,” Panthers coach Dan Parra said. “You have to have guys find him when he’s hot like that. Credit for those guys for finding him and Joe made some shots tonight for us. That allowed us to get a lead early.”
The Panthers hit four 3s in the first quarter overall and led 18-7 after the first frame. The lead still hovered around double digits when Badallucco’s full-court heave well after the buzzer banked in that left the Rage Cage and attendees in awe. Liberty North had clawed back to a 27-18 deficit at the half.
Liberty North had no trouble scoring in the second half, putting up 21 points in each of the final stanzas. The Panthers kept pace in the third with 20 of their own but managed just nine in the pivotal fourth quarter after leading scorer Lamel Robinson picked up three fouls in less than a minute to foul out with more than 4 minutes left on the clock.
“We just didn’t guard in the second half,” Parra said. “We just did not guard. We take a lot of pride and talk about how we want to get three or four defensive stops in a row and I don’t think we got consecutive stops tonight. They were scoring on us and our defense didn’t make it very hard for them they were hitting 3s, hitting their layups on drives.”
Robinson wound up with a team-high 16 points and Badalucco finished with 14. Junior Desi Williams added 12 points in the loss.
The Panthers and Eagles met again just three days later in the opening round of the North Kansas City Invitational with a different result. The Panthers held on for a 65-62 win.
Park Hill South went 10-for-11 from the free throw line including 8-for-8 in the final two minutes to salt the game away. Williams went 6-for-6 himself and finished with 18 points. Robinson hit both of his late attempts and finished with 27 points. Senior Saadique Perkins finished with 10 points.
Park Hill South is scheduled to take on tournament hosts, undefeated North Kansas City, on Wednesday, Jan. 17 in the semifinals.
Park Hill 73, Blue Springs 62
The return of Willy Majok provided a big spark for Park Hill in a Suburban Gold Division game against Blue Springs Tuesday, Jan. 9, in Blue Springs, Mo.
Majok tallied 24 points in his first game of the season and coupled with Ronnie Bell’s 22, that was enough for the Trojans to pull away for a 73-62 victory.
The 6-foot-0 guard was ineligible when the season started and the Trojans were 6-6 without him in the lineup. He stepped up with at least four points in each quarter and posted half of Park Hill’s 22 points in the fourth quarter to hold off the Wildcats.
Blue Springs, down by 10 when the final stanza started, pulled within 64-60 with 1 minute, 1 second left on a 3-pointer by Daniel Parker, a Missouri football recruit that finished with a game-high 35.
Park Hill responded by hitting seven free throws in a row to ice the win.
Bell had a combined five points in the first, third and fourth quarters, but changed the tide of the game in the second quarter by scoring 17 points. Bell hit six 3-pointers in the frame and turned a 19-16 deficit into a 40-29 lead at the break.