Lee’s Summit West expected to meet a Park Hill team in sectionals. Just not this one.
The Titans thought they’d see Park Hill South, the team they shared the Suburban Mid Six title with after splitting the regular-season series. Instead they got Park Hill, a team the Titans had already beaten twice, the last time by 19 points.
An opportunity for a letdown, and perhaps suffer a lack of focus?
Not with this team.
The Titans were dialed in, and it showed in a 70-40 romp past Park Hill in a Class 5 sectional game March 12 at the Independence Events Center. The win puts West, 25-3, in a quarterfinal matchup with Lee’s Summit at 2:45 p.m. March 15 at the Independence Events Center.
West coach Michael Schieber said he didn’t fear a letdown after Park Hill, 14-14, stunned Park Hill South 42-41 in its district final. Motivation hasn’t been a problem for them most of the season, and it certainly shouldn’t be now.
“You know you’re going to have to come out and play basketball,” Schieber said. “You can talk about opponents, but in the end it’s doing what we do to the best of our ability.”
Which is just what the Titans did. Their transition game hummed, thanks mainly to a relentless defense that dominated on the boards. They got double-digit scoring from three players and Monte Harrison threw down two showcase dunks.
“We were a little surprised to see Park Hill, but we knew we still had to play hard,” said West guard Jarred Dixon, who finished with 15 points. “If you lose there’s no tomorrow, so we had to take it like we were playing a Park Hill South.”
West took control early, racing out to a 19-9 first-quarter lead. That lead ballooned to 38-19 by halftime, and it grew even more as West held the Trojans to five points in the fourth quarter.
Dixon, who scored 10 of his 15 points in the third quarter, was joined in double figures by Gary Davis with 16 points, and Harrison with 13. Landry Shamet led Park Hill with 16 points.
“The kids came in and really pushed themselves,” Schieber said. “But again, that’s just the kids. They really wanted to play well.”
And that goes more so for Saturday, when the Titans face Lee’s Summit, which beat them 62-60 in their only meeting back in January. Of course, that would hold true if the opponent was Fort Osage.
“We struggled a little bit in conference play, but once the playoffs started I think we’ve been really focused because we don’t want it to be our last game,” Dixon said.