Two of the best football players in the Kansas City metro area put on quite a scoring display on the hardwood Friday night at Park Hill High School.
Missouri-bound Daniel Parker Jr. posted 33 points, while Ronnie Bell, who will play wide receiver for Michigan, tallied 31 points.
Parker may have outscored Bell, but it was Bell's Trojans that vaulted Park Hill to a 67-62 victory thanks to late free throws in a Suburban Big Seven contest.
Blue Springs trailed by 12 at one point in the fourth quarter but found a way to hang around thanks to Parker's hot night – which was a key given the absence of R.J. Lawrence, who was out with a leg injury.
Parker's 30th point of the game came on a 3-pointer that pulled Blue Springs within 62-56 with 1 minute left.
The Wildcats got exactly what they wanted next. They fouled a Trojan, who went to the line and missed both. Park Hill got the offensive rebound and Bell got the ball and promptly made two free throws.
“We were within two possessions,” Blue Springs coach Adam Jones said. “Who knows what would've happened but we gave ourselves a chance. We were down by two possession and I still had a timeout. We were doing a good job of fouling the right kid.
“We had some opportunities. Offensive rebounds and free throws are killer.”
In the final 54 seconds, Bell was the only Trojan who went to the line and the one-time Missouri State basketball commit hit 6 of 8 free throws to seal the win.
In between his conversions, Parker hit hit fifth and final 3-pointer and Jay'Von McKinney's bucket with 8.4 seconds left was the final points on the night for Blue Springs.
“It is always fun going against Daniel on the field or on the court,” said Bell, who won this year’s Simone Award as the top football player in the metro area. “It is impressive. That is a D-line/O-line keeping a basketball team in a game. That is impressive stuff. Daniel was all kinds of hot.”
The loss was the third straight for the Wildcats (7-14, 1-8), while the Trojans (13-9, 5-4) snapped a three-game skid that came from the Lee's Summit schools.
Blue Springs started out on fire and led 12-2 early in the first but back-to-back 3-pointers – one by Bell and one by Willy Majok – gave Park Hill a 19-18 lead after the first quarter.
The Wildcats tied the game at 21 early in the second quarter on a 3-pointer by Parker. The largest lead for the Trojans in the frame was five points, but the Wildcats kept rally behind the hot shooting of Parker – who hit a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left that made it 32-29 at the break.
Cooper Willich and Braylon Culler scored the first two baskets of the third quarter to give the Wildcats their first lead since the first quarter.
Park Hill went on a 10-0 run after that to regain the lead and hold an advantage the Trojans would never relinquish.
A 3-pointer by Stefan Black II stopped the run and pulled Blue Springs within 42-36, but the Wildcats had gone 4-plus minutes without any points.
A basket Ryan Graves gave Park Hill a 44-36 lead going into the fourth.