Lincoln Prep senior Asim Brown buried a short jumper in the lane, and nearly nine minutes into a championship matchup against Park Hill, the Tigers finally had their first bucket of the evening.
It took Park Hill senior Landry Shamet all of 4 seconds to answer.
Shamet dribbled the length of the floor, absorbed contact from a defender and made a layup.
Just like that, the Trojans had their response. As they did all night.
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Park Hill pulled away for a 67-50 victory Tuesday against Lincoln Prep and won the Nelson Division of the 35th annual William Jewell Holiday Classic. The victory gave the Trojans’ their first title in tournament history.
“We talked about that in the locker room before all the games — that we had no championships in the tournament program,” Shamet said. “We wanted to stamp our name in that. It was time for Park Hill to get a championship.”
After offense carried the Trojans through the first two rounds, a steady dose of defense ensured their first title. Park Hill, 8-1, held Lincoln Prep off the scoreboard for the first six-plus minutes, and it held them without a field goal for the entire first quarter.
As a result, the Trojans were able to overcome an unusually poor shooting first half. They shot only 37 percent while building a 29-18 halftime advantage.
“We got off to a slow start, but you have to credit their defense for some of that,” Lincoln Prep coach Sean Pearson said. “But when you can’t make shots, you have to do it on the defensive end, and we didn’t do that.”
Lincoln Prep, 8-2, overcame a nine-point deficit to win a semifinal game against Lee’s Summit on Monday. It couldn’t replicate the comeback effort a day later.
Lincoln Prep cut the lead to three points on a bucket from Steve Dudley midway through the third quarter, but Shamet and Dru Smith combined to score the next eight points to push the margin back to double digits.
“We made only one of our first nine shots from the outside, so we emphasized that we have to make sure we’re getting the ball to the rim,” Park Hill coach David Garrison said. “In the second half, we did a really good job of that. It was good for us to be able to respond the way we did.”
Shamet finished with a game-best 20 points, and he made all 10 of his free-throw attempts. Park Hill guard Deionte Wilson chipped in with 19 points and six rebounds.
Brown led Lincoln Prep with 15 points.