Hosting the KSHSAA 4A East Sub-State semifinals, the Parsons Vikings’ season ended with a 62-41 loss to the Hayden Wildcats on Tuesday.
Hayden connected on nine 3-pointers, breaking the levee in the second quarter and keeping the Vikings at arm’s length.
“That was the difference in the game,” Parsons head coach Anthony Houk said. “You just do the math. Some of those possessions, we played great defense. We guarded really well. We missed some easy looks early that would’ve extended our lead. Then they make those threes. Once you get that lead, sometimes those shots are easier to make. It changed our demeanor.”
Landon Wheat led Parsons with 17 points while senior guard Jessie Jones added 16. Hayden’s Jake Muller led the Wildcats with 17 points.
With the loss, Parsons’ campaign ends with an 11-10 record. The Vikings started the year 1-6 before winning 10 of its last 14 games to finish above .500.
“We’ve talked a long time about different classes that have come through,” Houk said. “We’ll remember this group in how they turned the season around. For them to win 10 of the last 13 regular season games, it was such a fun group to watch and coach. It’s a fun group of young men and I hate to see it end.”
Jones is the lone senior on the roster. The Vikings’ leading scorer has guided Parsons through multiple eras and leaves with the program on an upward trajectory.
“He has led by example,” Houk said. “He has grown a lot as a young man. I’ve really enjoyed watching him grow with his character. He’s been through a lot and seen a lot in our program. He’s seen state tournaments. He’s seen the tough COVID year. He gets to finish the season like he did, I’m super happy he experienced his career going uphill.”
Hayden will face Atchison in the sub-state finals on Friday for a berth to the state tournament.
As for Parsons, it enters an offseason where work in the weight room is a priority.
“We’ve got to get stronger,” Houk said. “Hayden’s big man and their guards were strong. There’s a reason they were in the state semifinals in football. When you’re the size of school you are, you have to be strong for every sport. I know our coaching staff is excited to watch our kids grow in the weight room.”
Parsons: Jahmarion Washington 1, J.J. Kendrick 3, Jessie Jones 16, Landon Wheat 17, Jager Quirin 2, Tra Tullis 2
Hayden: Padilla 8, Colbach 12, Muller 17, Cameron 4, McGibboney 5, Gonzales 2, Charvat 2, Ridley 6, Otting 4
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