Park Hill gave up the last eight points in the first quarter, the first five points in the second quarter and stared at an 11-point deficit against Kearney. Park Hill coach Chad Jones had seen enough and called timeout.
Jones raised his voice a few decibels, letting his players know he wasn’t happy with their effort.
The Trojans responded. They scored the next 17 points and never trailed again on the way to a 64-48 victory Tuesday evening in the William Jewell Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament at the Mabee Center.
“I thought Kearney came out and played extremely hard with a lot of energy, and we didn’t match it,” Jones said. “We called that timeout to get our players’ attention and make them recognize Kearney wasn’t going to lie down.”
The win puts Park Hill, 6-2, in the Patterson Division championship game at 9 p.m. Wednesday.
It is understandable why the Trojans figured they were in for an easy game. On Dec. 8 they beat Kearney 64-50.
Kearney came out Tuesday evening on fire and grabbed a 20-9 lead early in the second quarter, and that got Jones’ attention. The 17-point run started with three-pointer from senior Brandon Townsell. He followed with another basket, and that shifted the momentum dramatically in the favor of Park Hill.
“I loved the way we responded,” Jones said. “We had been in a couple of situations like that earlier, and we needed to call multiple timeouts. This time the team responded and came out with a ton of energy after the timeout.”
The Trojans built a 26-20 lead late in the second quarter and went into halftime ahead 26-25. Park Hill expanded its lead to 44-36 after three quarters and held a comfortable cushion throughout the fourth quarter.