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Parkway Central wins Tip-Off Classic, faces Francis Howell next

The Parkway Central Colts high school boys basketball team opened the season by winning the Gerald Linneman Tip-Off Classic.

The Colts (3-0) return to action Wednesday (Dec. 10) at Francis Howell. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.

Coach Rick Kirby is happy with how his squad began the season.

“We had a pretty good week but certainly are a work in progress,” Kirby said.

It was Parkway Central’s second consecutive tournament championship in the round robin that opens the season for the Parkway district schools. While Kirby is happy to see his boys win it, he said the event is important in other ways.

“The Gerald Linneman Tip-Off has been going on for many years in Parkway but doesn’t hold much significance other than some early season bragging rights,” Kirby said. “To me, it really honors a man that helped me get started in Parkway many years ago and was one of the most respected AD’s in the area.

“We will end up playing each of these (Parkway) teams again throughout the course of the regular season and tournament action. I can guarantee you that each of these teams will be better the next time we play, so I’m hoping the Colts can show that same improvement over the next few weeks. Don’t get me wrong, for confidence sakes, it was nice to get off to a good start”

The Colts knocked off Parkway North 67-36 in the season opener. Parkway Central followed that with a 70-62 victory over Parkway South. The Colts earned the championship with a 56-43 win over Parkway West.

“We lost three significant players off last year’s team (18-10) so I was a little concerned with how this year’s team would unfold,” Kirby said. “Our first game against Parkway North brought all the excitement that any season opener does but this one had a little side note. North’s new head coach was an ex-player of mine. Jason Breeland played for me back in the early 2000’s. We got off to a good start offensively led by guards Jarrett Cox-Bradley and Risaan McKenney to. win.

The Colts played at Parkway South in the second game. The Colts jumped out to a 23-7 in the first quarter.

“We picked up where we left off for a quarter for at least,” Kirby said. “Unfortunately the rest of the way, Parkway South settled in and actually outscored us. Parkway South played well.

“The best thing about this one was we weathered the storm and showed some poise in the fourth quarter to pull out a hard fought win.”

Senior guard Jarrett Cox-Bradley erupted for 37 points in the game for the Colts. He was instrumental in helping Parkway Central pick up the win with 11 points in the fourth quarter. Senior guard Risaan McKenney chipped in with 15.

In the Classic finale, the Colts hosted Parkway West, who won its first two games over Parkway North and Parkway South.

The Colts led 24-16 at halftime. After the break, Parkway Central outscored the Longhorns 16-8 in the third quarter to take command.

Cox-Bradley once again led the way offensively with 27 points. The Colts shot 53 percent from the field but the Longhorns outrebounded Parkway Central 28-17.

“I was really pleased with our effort in this one,” Kirby said. “Three games in five days can be a little taxing but we responded well in this one from the start. We defended like we will need to if we are going to be successful. We played smart defending the post.”

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