The Blue Springs boys basketball team had about as good of a start as a coach would want in a road game.
The Wildcats dominated most of the first quarter and held a double-digit lead after the opening quarter. From there, Park Hill found a way to rally and ultimately surged ahead in the second half on the way for a 76-57 victory on Wednesday at Park Hill High School.
Blue Springs (5-11) got a very balanced attack to roll up 23 points in the opening quarter, which included a 9-0 run in the first two minutes.
Cooper Willich scored seven for the Wildcats, while the quartet of Najee Williams, Eli Wingert, Jay'Von McKinney and Kyle Bruce all had four.
The 23-10 lead after the first quarter marked the largest lead for Blue Springs.
“We did some really nice things in the beginning,” Blue Springs coach Adam Jones said.
Foul trouble led to the Wildcats going to the bench in the second quarter and that opened the door for the Trojans (11-5) to cut into the deficit. Park Hill hit 9 of 13 free throws in the second quarter and pulled with 30-27 at halftime.
The outcome turned in favor of the home team, winners of three in a row, when the Trojans scored 32 points in the third quarter. Park Hill got 14 points from Truman State signee Nic Zeil, who had a game-high 21.
Park Hill had seven 3-point plays in the frame: four 3-pointers and trio of old-fashioned three-point conversions. The Trojans had an 11-0 run and later an 11-2 run in the frame after being tied 32-32 earlier in the third.
“We didn't start off real well,” Park Hill coach Chad Jones said. “We made a couple of adjustments and we did a good job of doing what I asked and we were down a couple going into the halftime. Then Nic and Nyk (Bryant) dominated the third quarter. Thirty-two is a big number. Credit for our guys for making adjustments.”
Park Hill led by 19 after three quarters and the lead grew to 25 points in the fourth, which featured the ejection of a Wildcat player.
Bruce tallied a team-high 12 for Blue Springs, while Wingert added 10. McKinney and Willich had nine each.
“Zeil took over in the third and fourth quarters,” Jones said. “I'm discouraged in our fight a little bit, but at the same time, we did good things in the first quarter. We have Blue Springs South on Friday and seeing Zeil, everything he does is with his right and we will see the opposite with Jaylon (McDaniel).
“I'm hoping our kids are learning from these experiences.”