816 North boys hoops: Liberty North, Park Hill advance in playoffs

03/11/2014 4:37 PM

03/11/2014 4:37 PM

The Liberty North High School boys basketball team’s chances for a third straight appearance in the Missouri Class 4 final four remain alive.

Barely.

Liberty North won its district championship game against Lincoln Prep last Saturday when Brian Sharp nailed a 35-foot running three-point basket at the buzzer for a 53-50 victory. It gave the Eagles their only lead of the game, but one was enough.

Liberty North will face St. Joseph Lafayette at 7:45 tonight at Staley High School in a Class 4 sectional round that will cut the field to eight.

“We are coming off an emotional high with the dramatic shot to beat a great Lincoln Prep team,” Liberty North coach Chris McCabe said. “We have played well enough to win three games in a row (in the playoffs), but we still feel like we can play at a higher level.”

They may need to. St. Joseph Lafayette, 22-4, has won 13 straight games since a four-point loss to Fort Osage on Jan. 16 in the Kearney Invitational.

Liberty North and St. Joseph Lafayette have developed into regular postseason participants. The Eagles bounced Lafayette from the postseason with a 49-43 victory in the sectional round last March.

“They are impressive in person, on tape and on the stat sheets,” McCabe said. “We have had some tremendous matchups with them over the past three years, and I’m sure Wednesday night will be another one.”

Park Hill advances

A Missouri Class 5 sectional game was supposed to serve as the tiebreaker for Lee’s Summit West and Park Hill South after the two teams split their regular season games and tied for the Suburban Red Conference championship.

Until Park Hill ruined the party.

Park Hill upset rival Park Hill South in the district championship game last Saturday, and the Trojans will face Lee’s Summit West at 4:45 p.m. today at the Independence Events Center, looking to continue their unlikely postseason streak.

“We really had some kids step up and make plays during districts last week,” Park Hill coach David Garrison said. “Our team feels really good right now. We have had some ups and downs, but we are excited about the opportunity to play Lee’s Summit West for a third time.”

Perhaps that can be the charm once again.

Park Hill, 14-13, had lost both regular season games to Park Hill South before Saturday’s win. The Trojans also fell twice to Lee’s Summit West this season.

Lee’s Summit West is one of the remaining favorites in Class 5 with wins this season over some of the state’s top teams in Columbia Hickman and Columbia Rock Bridge. The Titans, 24-3, are an athletic team that can score from a variety of positions on the floor. Monte Harrison and Jarred Dixon have proven to be touch matchups for opponents.

“Offensively, they can beat you both on the perimeter and in the paint,” Garrison said. “Defensively, they have the speed and the strength to really take you out of your comfort zone. The key for us will be our ability to handle their pressure and take care of the ball.”

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