Fueled by a smothering defensive effort that kept the Independence Bulldogs, ranked No. 10 in 4A in the KBCA polls, to single digits in all four quarters, the Parsons Vikings are now one win away from securing the SEK League title after beating the Bulldogs 53-25.
“I’m just thrilled with our defensive effort tonight,” Parsons head coach Anthony Houk said. “Our guys came out on a mission to get stops. They did it as a group and did it over and over. To be able to hold them to nine points in a half, I just can’t say enough about our group as a whole.”
DaQuan Johnson led Parsons in scoring with 14 points.
“What I saw out of DaQuan tonight is what we keep seeing in practice,” Houk said. “He is focused and locked in. His energy is great and his practice habits are just awesome. He’s a great leader that just carries us.”
Dariq Williams added 13 points while Pierce Thomas chipped in 11 for the Vikings. Nobody for Independence scored more than six points.
The loss sunk Independence’s record to 9-7 overall and 4-4 in SEK League play while the win for the Vikings swell its marks to 16-1 and 9-0 respectively.
Parsons gets Tuesday off before heading north to face Chanute on Friday.
“We’re going to polish our details and work on our defensive rotations and shooting,” Houk said. “Those are the main things down the stretch. We’ve got to be sharp defensively, make shots and be on the same page. When things get loud and crazy, we’ve got to be on the same page. We’ve got to get some rest in there as well.”
The matchup with Chanute will trigger a three-game road trip to end the regular season that will end at Labette County. Parsons needs one win to seal a share of the SEK League title and two wins to win the league outright.
“We will not go into any of the next three games,” Houk said, “looking at our opponent based on their record. We know we have a target on our back and will get everybody’s best shot. The best strategy of an underdog is to outwork us. So we’ve got to be the hardest working team on the floor.”
Parsons 53, Independence 25
Parsons: 8 20 20 5 — 53
Independence: 5 4 8 8 — 25
Parsons: Dariq Williams 13, DaQuan Johnson 14, Zeke Lyons 8, Cedric Webb 1, Pierce Thomas 11, Croix Hogan 3, Julius Smith-Reece 3
Independence: Merrick 1, Coller 2, Turner 4, McGrath 2, Paige 2, Smith 2, Lewis 6, Ewing 6