By Dana Harding (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Springfield, Mo. — It’s no secret that Parkview senior Paiton Acord is one of the most versatile scorers in the Ozarks.
Just ask Camdenton.
The Lady Lakers got a fresh reminder Thursday evening, as the all-state guard poured in 31 points to help Parkview close out an 89-80 overtime victory.
Whether it was attacking the basket, posting up Camdenton’s smaller guards or launching bombs from the perimeter, Acord’s entire toolset was showcased during the Ozark Conference matchup.
Oh, yeah … she also plays a pretty tight defensive game.
“I just think we were successful in being able to move around, dribble-drive, kick out and keep our transition points up,” Acord said. “[Camdenton] is definitely very quick, and they have a lot of ball screens that were hard to get through and transition out to the shooters, but we managed.”
Parkview head coach Keri Nichols discussed the effectiveness of her matchup nightmare.
“The beauty of Paiton is that she can play inside out or outside in, and so she really created a lot of mismatches,” Nichols said.”She passes the ball so well — when they started doubling and tripling her, she would she would kick it out, and we had some other kids hit some big shots. So, then they couldn’t double her, and she was able to attack.”
Camdenton head coach Staci Caffey had hoped to slow down Acord’s productivity a bit, but praised the 5-foot-8 guard’s performance and high basketball IQ.
“[Acord] has the knowledge on the basketball court,” Caffey said. “If we doubled, she found the open man. if we singled, then she’d post them up. She had a solution for every one of our defensive plays.”
Parkview jumped out to an early lead in the contest yet, surprisingly, it wasn’t Acord providing the scoring punch.
Sophomores Mikaela Whalen and Kamari Ouck combined to score 15 points in the first quarter, pacing the Lady Vikings to a 13-1 run to close the period with a 21-11 lead.
Camdenton rallied in the second behind senior Natalie Basham.
The 5-foot-9 guard scored 9 of her team-high 21 points in the period and crossed the 1,000-point milestone for career scoring shortly before halftime on a one-handed runner in the lane.
While Basham was unaware how close she was prior to the game — her parents had told her she was 30 points away instead of the actual 12 — something in the bleachers may have clued her in.
Camdenton fans were all given fliers during warmups with Basham’s photo on one side and the number 1,000 on the other.
“I peeked over and kind of saw everyone holding up signs and I was like, okay, I’m just gonna play that off like I didn’t see it,” Basham said of the flyers. “I just kept pushing and wasn’t worried about the points, or anything. I was just trying to make something happen for the team.”
After a brief timeout to recognize the accomplishment, Parkview closed the half with a buzzer-beating shot from senior Dee Diggs and a 43-35 lead.
Caffey attributed much of her team’s sluggish start to a poor showing on the boards — the Lady Lakers were outrebounded by a 2-to-1 margin in the first half.
Her team’s second half effort was much improved, as was the result.
The smaller, faster Camdenton lineup was able to able to go board-for-board with Parkview for most of the second half, a stat which caused Nichols a considerable amount of concern.
“Even though they’re a little undersized, they’re great rebounders,” Nichols said. “I felt like we didn’t do a very good job of boxing out, and we got into the bad habit of trying to out-jump them. They were scrappy, and I just felt like they outworked us in that aspect. Getting three or four shots every possession makes it really hard to get stops when you’re just giving them look after look after look.”
Late in the fourth, Camdenton’s rebounding efforts — along with a pair of freshmen — helped it claw all the way back into the contest.
With 1:45 left to play, freshman Payton Kincaid notched four rebounds in succession under the basket before finally getting a key put-back to bring the Lady Lakers within two at 70-68.
An Acord free throw at the other end put Parkview back up three; however, Camdenton freshman Elle Turner erased that lead with a clutch 3-pointer with just over a minute to play, knotting the score at 71-71.
Following a pair of baskets from Whalen and Basham, the teams headed to overtime tied at 73-73.
Unfortunately for Camdenton, the momentum it carried late in the fourth quarter shifted back to the home team.
Or, more appropriately, it was stolen by a pair of Lady Vikings — Acord and Whalen.
While the senior scoring phenom lead the early charge during overtime with 6 points, Parkview was able to close out the contest thanks to Walen’s work at the free throw line.
The sophomore converted 5-of-6 attempts at the stripe — and added a key basket — to help seal the victory for her team.
After the game, Nichols was quick to praise her young playmaker.
“Mikaela has come through a couple times this season and really stepped up” Nichols said. “As a sophomore, we couldn’t be pleased more. Like anything, we have growing pains, and I was really happy to see her step up and hit those shots … and then to have the confidence and step up and hit free throws in big game situations? That’s huge.”
Whalen and Ouck joined Acord in double figures for Parkview with 21 and 18 points, respectively.
While the loss was disappointing for Camdenton, Caffey was pleased with her team’s effort to fight back in the second half and send the game into overtime.
“I think that’s just the style of our girls,” Caffey said. “Their demeanor is just to give it everything on the court, not to ever give up, and I think they showed that.”
Caffey was also quick to recognize her senior’s milestone event.
“[Basham] is an outstanding young lady, and it’s a blessing to get to coach her,” Caffey said. “She gives it everything she has, and she’s just a competitor that really pushes the ball offensively — but also applies that pressure, defensively, as well. So, she’s a stat leader all the way across the board.”
Darby Roam added 13 points for Camdenton, and Turner chipped in 10.
Varsity Final: Parkview – 89, Camdenton – 80
Camdenton 11 24 18 20 (07) — 80
Parkview 21 22 14 14 (16) — 89
Camdenton scoring: Natalie Basham – 21, Darby Roam – 13, Elle Turner – 10, Shelby Kurtz – 9, Megan Vest – 9, Olivia Whittle – 6, Mya Hulett – 8, Payton Kincaid – 4
Parkview scoring: Paiton Acord – 31, Mikaela Whalen – 21, Kamari Ouck – 18, Dee Diggs – 8, Nevaeh Mitchell – 7, Kristen Klein – 4
JV final: Parkview – 48, Camdenton – 46