The offensive play sheet was minimal. The defensive tasks were even easier to memorize.
In his first meeting as the newly-appointed Park Hill South High School boys basketball coach, Dan Parra kept his message relatively simple.
“I wanted to get more speed, more up-tempo,” Parra said. “I wanted to play fast and play in space and get our defense to create some offense out in transition.”
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He considers the style a more exciting brand of basketball.
Thus far, it’s been a successful one, too.
Park Hill South took an 8-1 record into a road game Tuesday at Lee’s Summit North, a matchup that ended after press time.
The quick start has come despite a relative lack of experience. The Panthers returned only two players that saw significant time last season. Those two — Ryan Welty and Mitch Henderson — have started every game this year, along with Allen Hyatt and James Byrd.
The fast-paced system has been particularly beneficial to Hyatt and Byrd. Hyatt has served as the Panthers’ primary option in the post, while Byrd has played both guard positions.
Byrd scored 30 points in a 73-70 win against Lee’s Summit last week.
“He’s really liking the speed he’s able to play with. He’s been a catalyst on offense,” Parra said. “And Allen Hyatt has been our anchor. He’s the hardest worker on our team.”
The full combination has equated to the 8-1 record, which, in turn, has shaped the expectations of a team that will open its Suburban Red Conference schedule against St. Joseph Central on Jan. 27.
“I looked at our early season schedule and thought I’d be happy if we came out .500 after Christmas,” Parra said. “Now it’s more along the lines of, ‘Why not us?’ I think we can go as far as any team in the city. Why not?”
This week’s boys game to watch:
Blue Springs at Park Hill, 7 p.m. Friday
The unbeaten streak is over for the Blue Springs Wildcats. After nine straight victories to open the season, Blue Springs dropped a 76-74 overtime loss to Liberty on Friday.
An even greater non-conference challenge awaits one week later.
Blue Springs, 9-1, will travel Friday to face Park Hill, which owned a 9-1 record heading into a tilt Tuesday with Lee’s Summit West.
Neither team possesses much size, but they can each still control the paint with ball movement and quickness.
Point guard Landry Shamet leads the Trojans with 17.8 points per game, while fellow guard Deionte Wilson is scoring 17.1 points per game. Park Hill is shooting 34 percent from three-point range this season.
Blue Springs possesses a balanced offense, which has made them particularly difficult to guard this season. Tyree King scored 18 points in the loss to Liberty.