Before Tuesday night’s Suburban Big Seven matchup against visiting Park Hill, Wildcat seniors Daniel Parker and R.J. Lawrence were presented commemorative basketballs for joining Blue Springs High School’s exclusive 1,000-point club.
Parker reached the milestone over the holiday break at the William Jewell Tournament and Lawrence did it last Friday at home against Lee’s Summit West. They are the first two Wildcat teammates to reach 1,000 points in the same season.
“It’s important to honor someone for an accomplishment like that,” Wildcats coach Adam Jones said, “I just wish we could have made the night more special with a win. Ronnie Bell won this game for Park Hill in the second quarter.”
Bell, the Simone Award winning wide receiver who recently decommitted from playing basketball at Missouri State to play football at Michigan, hit five 3-pointers and finished with 17 points in the second quarter to lead the Trojans to a 40-29 halftime lead and a 73-64 victory.
Although Bell scored just two second-half points, the damage was done and the Trojans had a victory despite a comeback attempt by the Wildcats.
“We lost it in the second quarter, we made some adjustments, especially on Bell, at the half, and they worked, but we dug too deep of a hole in that second quarter,” Jones said, after his team fell to 4-7 overall and 0-3 in conference action.
“It’s been that way all season. One bad defensive stretch, and it costs us a game.”
Parker and Lawrence agreed with their coach’s assessment of the loss.
“Ronnie did us in the second quarter,” said Parker, who led all scorers with 35 points and 14 rebounds. “When you face one great player, someone has to step up and stop him. We were able to do that in the second half, but he got us in the first half.”
Lawrence, who added 18 points, added, “One defensive lapse in the second quarter cost us the game. We made that late run, but we never could get over the hump. It’s disappointing because we need to get our first conference win, and we were all hoping it would happen tonight.”
Parker scored 13 of his 35 points in the first quarter and the Wildcats took a 19-16 lead.
That’s when Bell took the game over.
“He’s a great athlete, a very good basketball player,” Jones said. “He didn’t do much to hurt us the second half, but we missed too many free throws and layups to give ourselves a chance to get back in the game.”
A long 3-point basket by Parker at 1:01 of the fourth quarter made it a 64-60 game, but the Trojans hit seven free throws in a row down the stretch to maintain their lead.
Blue Springs was just 12-of-20 from the charity stripe.
While they were disappointed with the loss, Parker and Lawrence appreciated the recognition before the game, as each was presented a commemorative basketball with the date inscribed when they scored their 1,000th point.
“This is special,” Lawrence said. “My teammates, our coaches, our fans, it’s nice to share this with them. We win together and we struggle together and this is a nice way to remember my 1,000th point.”
Parker added: “It’s great. This basketball means a lot to me.”
Other Blue Springs 1,000-point scorers are John Sundvold (1979), Steve Harris (1981), Brad Nelson (1985), Steve Logan (1989), Jimmy Cain (1992), Chris Borchers (1997), Mikey White (2004), Jay Corwin (2013) and Tyree King (2017).
Bell finished with 22 points for the Trojans (7-6, 2-1) and Willy Mojak had a team-high 24 points.