Posted On: 01/17/18 10:54 PM
Ten Best: Park Hill South-North Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two of Kansas City’s premier Missouri Class 5 teams squared off in the semifinals of the North Kansas City Invitational on Wednesday as Park Hill South knocked off the host North Kansas City in overtime, 70-61.
With the win, the Panthers improve to 13-2 and will face Rock Bridge (14-0) in the championship game at 7 p.m. on Friday. NKC falls to 16-1 on the season and will face Oak Park in the third-place game at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.
Here, Prep Hoops takes a look at the ten best performances of the night.
MVP: Lamel Robinson (Park Hill South). A 5’11 2019 point guard, Robinson was quiet throughout much of Wednesday’s semifinal game, but got things working in the fourth quarter and in overtime as he scored nine key points down the stretch and got into the lane and made plays for others, handing out several passes for easy buckets. He finished with 19 points to PHS.
Best offensive performer: T.J. Babikir (NKC). Unless you’re an avid basketball fan or around the North Kansas City community, you’ve probably not heard much about 6’2 2018 T.J. Babikir, but after a solid junior season, he has emerged this season as one of the KC area’s premier shooting guards. Babikir can shoot from the outside, has some shake-and-bake off the dribble and has a nice mid-range game off the bounce. He went for a game-high 28 points on Wednesday, including a huge second quarter in which he scored 11 of the Hornets’ 16 points and helped pull NKC with two points at the half.
Best defensive performer: Deng Bol (NKC). If you’re old enough to remember the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels teams of the early 1990s, you’ve likely heard of former NBA defensive standout Stacey Augmon, also known as the ‘Plastic Man.” That is some ways is Bol who is all arms and legs and just smothers opposing ball handlers. On Wednesday, he had Park Hill South 2019 guard Lamel Robinson, who scored some tough buckets, but was challenged by Bol. At 6’3, Bol is among the KC area’s most underrated players, a terrific point guard who can do a little bit of everything well.
Best rebounder: C.J. Lee (Park Hill South). With all due respect to everyone else wearing a jersey on Wednesday, this one wasn’t even close as Lee was a dominant force on the boards. He bullied his way to 10 first-half rebounds alone and finished the game with 18 total, one of the highest we’ve witnessed in person this year He is a strong, physical player who loves to mix it up in the paint and gave a solid NKC front line fits all night in the paint.
Best passer: Desi Williams (Park Hill South). Williams has seemingly been a fixture in KC hoops forever and has carved out a reputation as one of the city’s best all-around point guards. He is a solid ball handler, defender and plays with poise and confidence. On Wednesday, he dropped off several impressive passes for easy buckets and also finished with 18 points, including a 5 for 6 performance at the free throw line in overtime.
Most versatile: Erick Slack (NKC). At 6’4, Slack is a strong, physical 2019 forward with a diverse skill set, able to step outside and shoot the 3 or take his game into the paint. He finished with 16 points and led the Hornets with seven rebounds on Wednesday. He made a pair of 3-pointers and scored in every quarter, including the overtime.
Best shooter: T.J. Babikir (NKC). Babikir missed some key free throws late in the game, but otherwise stuck a bunch of shots, showing the ability to make 3-pointers and mid-range jumpers.
Best off the bench: Harold Ellis (Park Hill South). A 6’1 2019 guard, Ellis made a pair of buckets and was on the court late in the game to play some tough, hard-nosed defense. Neither team went deep into their bench and stuck with their starting five throughout much of the contest.
Best youngster: D’Anthony Pennington (NKC). Neither team saw many non-juniors or seniors get varsity minutes on Wednesday, but 2020 guard D.Anthony Pennington made a key 3-pointer in overtime to pull NKC within one point with a couple minutes remaining. A 6’2 guard, Pennington has good length and is a solid outside shooter.
Name to remember: Yonathon Elful (NKC). A strong inside, outside player, 6’3 2019 guard/forard Yonathon Elful can do a little bit of everything at both ends of the floor. He is content to play his role — rebound, defend and work hard in the paint — but shows some skill and will likely have a much larger role for the Hornets next season.