INDEPENDENCE — A defensive slugfest greeted the undefeated Parsons Vikings back from winter break. While the Vikings’ offense was held well under its season average, the final result maintained the status quo as Parsons defeated the Independence Bulldogs 41-32.
“I give a lot of credit to Coach Lanning and Independence. Their tough matchup zone had us out of rhythm,” Parsons head coach Anthony Houk said. “We found ourselves in some unfamiliar territory with 16 points in the first half. We’ve been scoring 15 a quarter.”
In a rematch of last year’s sub-state championship, the Bulldogs’ defense slowed the pace of the game down to take Parsons out of its comfort zone.
“They did a great job of making us play at their tempo,” Houk said. “We weren’t able to press very much because we didn’t make shots. We made some adjustments to try and pressure the ball even off a miss to get the tempo back to what we wanted.”
DaQuan Johnson paced parsons with 17 points, three-and-a-half points shy of half of his team’s total output.
“He was great defensively,” Houk said. “We put him on (Davion) Lewis and he really pulled down rebounds. He got to the rim well. He was focused tonight.”
Houk preached after the game that while Parsons’ offense lacked its usual firepower, that the Vikings should embrace the defensive effort put forth.
“We need to be the team who can fight for a win when we score 30 or 40 points,” Houk said. “They needed to enjoy this fight. We’re going to get more fights like that. The league isn’t going to roll over for us just because we’re undefeated. We’ve got to be willing to win them any way we can.”
He also praised the play of point guard Dariq Williams, who finished the game with six points.
“He goes scoreless for three quarters yet he still controlled the game,” Houk said. “He had six big points in the fourth quarter and did a great job. I was super proud of him for keeping his composure. A lot of things weren’t going our way and he stayed level-headed.”
Parsons, which improved to 8-0 overall and 3-0 in SEK League play, gets a week to let a close call to Independence digest before hosting Chanute on Tuesday.
“We’ve just got to keep getting better,” Houk said. “We need to keep working on our conditioning and keep getting shots in. We’ve just got to find that rhythm and sharpen the details.”
IN THE GIRLS GAME…Parsons fell 52-42 to Independence. The Vikings are still winless on the season at 0-7, including an 0-3 mark in SEK League action.
“We had another rough third quarter,” Parsons head coach Pat Schibi said — the Vikings were outscored by the Bulldogs 15-8 in the third period. “I still thought we played well. our effort was so much better and we rebounded well. We had some girls step up.”
Nakia Dodd led Parsons with 12 points while Alix Webb added 11.
Parsons also gets the week off before playing Chanute, which is currently atop the SEK League standings.
Parsons 41, Independence 32
Parsons: 11 5 8 17 — 41
Independence: 8 11 8 5 — 32
Parsons: Ethan Houk 2, Dariq Williams 6, DaQuan Johnson 17, Zeke Lyons 4, Pierce Thomas 3, Julius Smith-Reece 9
Independence: N. Farley 7, J. McGrath 8, TJ Turner 4, J. Paige 2, D. Lewis 9, Ewing 2
Independence 52, Parsons 42
Independence: 4 16 15 17 — 52
Parsons: 9 7 8 18 — 42
Parsons: Briona Patterson 6, Alix Webb 11, Sanya Anderson 2, Kinsey Baldwin 5, Jadyn Heck 6, Nakia Dodd 12
Independence: Ry. Reichenberger 3, Ri. Reichenberger 11, M. Bollinger 2, H. Stover 9, R. Rutherford 3, J. Eytcheson 12, K. Thorpe 9, M. Smith 1, R. Powell 2