By Dana Harding (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Springfield, Mo. — Parkview’s late-season streak continues.
The Vikings downed Lebanon 62-50 Tuesday night to claim a ninth-straight victory dating back to Jan. 28.
Dontae Taylor scored 11 of his team-high 20 points in the first quarter to help propel Parkview to an early lead.
The 6-foot-1 senior utilized an improved perimeter game to create additional space at the offensive end.
“I’ve really improved on my jump shot,” Taylor said. “I usually don’t shoot those, but I’m underrated, so I’m proving to these people what I’m all about.”
A 15-5 run in the first quarter helped Parkview capture the game’s early momentum and build a 34-20 halftime lead.
Vikings head coach Landon Cornish praised his senior leader’s effectiveness and unselfish nature.
“I’m hard on Dontae because he can take it — and he can do it,” Cornish said. “He produces; he had to guard the best player, and then do stuff for us, offensively. He can go score, but he also creates a lot of opportunities for other guys, too, because he draws so much attention when he gets the ball around the basket.”
Trevon Brazile joined Taylor in double figures with 12 points, while teammates Amarre Clark and Elijah Whitley added 9 points each.
While the early scoring punch was a crucial component, the Vikings’ defensive effort against Quenton Shelton proved to be even more so.
After the 6-foot-2 senior eclipsed the 2,000-point career mark last week, minimizing Lebanon’s all-time scoring leader was priority one in Parkview’s defensive game plan.
After a slow start, Shelton erupted in the second half with 22 of his game-high 33 points.
Cornish knew slowing down the Yellowjackets’ playmaker would be no easy task.
“We denied and tried to get the ball out of [Shelton’s] hands and not let him bring it up — we wanted to make him work as hard as possible,” Cornish said. “In the second half, he got some fouls and was just taking it to the bucket. He’s really hard to stop, but I thought our guys did a good job in the first half to build that lead and just kind of hang on.”
Lebanon faced a double-digit deficit for most or the game; however, Shelton’s fourth-quarter heroics — and back-to-back baskets — cut Parkview’s lead to a mere six points with just under two minutes remaining.
Unfortunately for the visitors, that’s as close as the Yellowjackets would get.
Parkview made 9-of-10 free throws in the final 90 seconds to close out the game.
Despite the final free-throw flurry, Cornish attributed part of the late scare to a pair of key Parkview misses at the line.
“We missed a couple front ends,” Cornish said, “Obviously, we make some more free throws and it kind of salts that game away a little bit easier, but that’s part of it. We played good, defensively, and got enough stops when it counted that we were able to overcome it.”
With Parkview’s current win streak intact, the Vikings look to bigger possibilities ahead with districts looming.
Taylor believes he and his teammates are reaping the benefits of growth and maturity throughout the season.
“We’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing,” Taylor said. “Towards the beginning of the season, we’d lose those games, but we’ve learned how to finish those games. People underestimate us. They think we’re not like that, but we’re on a nine-game winning streak, so it’s pretty exciting.”
Tuesday’s game also marked the first trip back to Parkview for Lebanon head coach Bill Brown.
Brown, who spent 13 years with the Vikings before stepping away in 2015, reflected on preparing for a game in the visitor’s locker room for the first time at the school.
“It’s pretty tough, but it’s exactly what I expected,” Brown said. “It’s Parkview, and they bring a lot of really good players and a lot of tradition and hard work. Considering my father and myself; I think we almost have 600 wins coaching here, so it’s been a big part of my life.”
Both teams are back in action Friday, Feb. 21. Parkview (14-8, 5-2) travels to West Plains, while Lebanon (15-8, 5-1) hosts Rolla.
Varsity Final: Parkview – 62, Lebanon – 50
Lebanon 10 10 18 12 — 50
Parkview 18 16 14 13 — 62
Lebanon scoring: Quenton Shelton – 33, Caleb Falzone – 6, Jordan Lewis – 6, Tyler Williamson – 5
Parkview scoring: Dontae Taylor – 20, Trevon Brazile – 12, Amarre Clark – 9, Elijah Whitley – 9, Zay Beal – 5, Nakai Johnson – 3, Kevin Parker, Jr. – 3, Anthony Green – 1
JV Final: Parkview – 75, Lebanon – 35
Frosh Final: Parkview – 35, Lebanon – 32