Getting to the free-throw line is something that Parkview coach Bill Brown emphasizes every game.
And it’s no coincidence that it’s also one of senior Erik Durham’s favorite things to do.
Both Durham and Parkview made their living from the free-throw line on Tuesday night in a Class 5 District 12 semifinal in which they walloped the Central Bulldogs 73-39 at Parkview High School.
Durham threw down a game-high 32 points, one-third of them at the line.
“Everyday we work on our free throws in practice and we all have skills in making free throws,” Durham said. “We knew they were going to get real aggressive on us, and it was important to draw the foul and I knew that was a key thing I needed to do.”
Parkview (22-5) will play Willard — a 73-47 semifinal winner against Joplin — for the district title at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, also at Parkview.
The top-seeded Vikings made 11 of their first 15 points from the free-throw line and led Central 23-10 after the first quarter.
“We went to a dribble offense early and picked up some hand-check fouls. And once we got into the bonus — which is something we try to do every game — we tend to do a nice job at the free-throw line,” Brown said.
“If we get the right person on the line, we usually hit a high percentage.”
The Vikings held a 14-point lead (35-21) at halftime, but exploded for a 27-point third quarter.
That led to a 62-30 advantage even with a full period to play.
Brown singled out senior center Nathan Reichert as key to the big third-quarter run.
“In the first half, Nathan was out of sync,” Brown said. “We talked at halftime and told him to be more aggressive and he came out and started getting better shots up and got rebounds and got to the free-throw line.”
Parkview made 30 of 37 free throws total, while Central converted just 6 of 12 shots from the line.
“One thing I learned when I was at Minnesota scouting Bobby Knight, his teams would make hundreds of free throws more than other teams would even attempt,” said Brown, part of Clem Haskins’ staff in the late 1990s and early part of the past decade.
“When those type of coaches like certain things, that must mean it’s pretty important.”
Durham was 11 of 13 from the line, sophomore Autry Acord added 15 points and Reichert had 10 points and six boards.
“This time of year, Erik is being much more aggressive and he’s doing the things we need him to do,” Brown said.
“And when he plays that way,we’re going to be as good as he is, and so far this year, he’s been amazing for us.
“It’s exciting to coach a player like that; he’s outstanding.”
Sophomore D’Angelo Bedell led Central (5-23) with 12 points.
Willard 73, Joplin 47
Led by the 6-foot-5 duo of junior Chris Kendrix and Kolbe Kinghorn, Willard easily handled Joplin in other district semifinal.
A big second quarter gave the Tigers (17-8) a 35-22 lead at halftime as Willard forced 13 first-half Joplin turnovers.
Willard stormed out of the locker room with an even bigger third period, building a 58-34 lead by the start of the fourth quarter.
Kendrix led Willard with 20 points and eight rebounds on 11 of 13 shooting from the free-throw line and Kinghorn added 19 points, making 8 of 8 from the line.
Junior guard Charlie Brown led Joplin (15-10) with 22 points in the loss.