RACINE — Nobal Days came to play.

That was outstanding news for the Park High School boys basketball team. As far as the Case team, not so much.

Days, Park’s talented junior center, put on a dominating first-half performance in leading the Panthers to a 74-52 victory over Case in a Southeast Conference game on Tuesday night in a packed Park fieldhouse.

The Panthers’ triumph came on the heels of Case’s thrilling 57-56 victory over Park in the first game of a doubleheader between the two schools.

While freshman guard Abreanna Jones provided the heroics for the Eagles’ girls with a clutch basket with 24 seconds remaining, Days made his mark on the boys game almost from the opening tip.

The 6-foot-9 Days, who is being recruited by a slew of NCAA Division I schools, including Wisconsin and Marquette, compiled a highlight film of exceptional plays during an eight-minute run in the opening half as Park , which is 8-1 overall, 4-1 in the SEC and ranked 10th in Division 1 of the Associated Press state poll, quickly took command.

One of Days’ notable plays occurred when he cleared a rebound and dribbled up the court before stopping near Case’s free throw line, where he made a precision pass to the wide-open Ricky Canady for a layup.

About three minutes later, Days brought the partisan crowd to its feet when, after finding a crease down the lane, he finished the play in dramatic fashion with a monster two-handed dunk.

Days’s five-star showing in the first half – he had eight points, nine rebounds, a pair of blocked shots and several alters – helped Park seize a commanding 39-14 lead.

To say the least, Day made a marked impression on both team’s coaches.

“Nobal is a D-I recruit; what else can you say?’’ said Case coach Jacob Berce, whose team fell to 5-6 overall, 3-2 in the SEC. “He’s just a really good player overall.’’

Added Park coach Jim Betker: “He’s a guy who makes his teammates better. He’s a stats stuffer. This is what we expect of him. This is what he expects of himself. It’s just a pleasure to have Nobal on our team.’’

While Days was a force at both ends of the floor, the Panthers got a terrific scoring outing from Jalawn Farrell, who had 12 of his 14 points in the first half. And, as he’s done on a consistent basis this season, junior Larry Canady turned in another quality defensive performance as he kept Case freshman JaKobe Thompson to 10 points – half of his season’s average.

Isaiah Wright added eight points for the youthful Eagles, who started three sophomores and one freshman and who saw their inexperience surface right from the get-go against a veteran laden Park team.

Said Berce succinctly: “Park is a very talented team.’’

Park 74, Case 52

CASE (5-6)

Rankins 3 0-0 6, Farr 1 2-3 4, L. Schmidtmann 1 0-0 2, Wright 3 0-0 8, Thompson 3 2-4 10, Jackson 2 0-0 5, Edmonson 2 0-0 4, Sardin 1 2-2 5, Gillian 1 0-0 2, O. Schmidtmann 1 0-0 2, Hunter 0 4-4 4. Totals 18 6-13 52.

PARK (8-1)

Kendrick 4 2-7 11, J. Bustamante 1 1-1 3, Longoria 0 0-2 0, Days 4 0-2 8, Farrell 6 2-6 14, Martin 0 2-4 2, Henderson 1 2-2 4, K. Bustamante 1 0-0 2, R. Canady 4 2-2 11, L. Canady 5 2-4 14, Warren 1 2-2 5. Totals 27 15-32 74.

Halftime—Park 39, Case 14. 3-point goals—Thompson 2, Jackson 2, Edmonson, Sardin, Kendrick, R. Canady, L. Canady 2, Warren. Total fouls—Case 22, Park 13.

Girls

CASE 57, PARK 56: With the game in the balance, Jones knew precisely what she needed to do for the Eagles to win.

Getting free in the lane, Jones got a nice pass from K’Mya Oliver and then drove to the basket to score the decisive basket.

“I said to myself, ‘I got to make it. I got to make it,’ ‘’ Jones said. “We need this ‘W.’ ’’

Jones’ clutch basket capped off a highly competitive game, one which saw Park (4-10, 2-4) hold a 25-24 lead at halftime.

The game remained close the rest of the way, with Case (3-10, 2-4) taking a 55-54 advantage with 1:31 left in the game after a basket by Jasmine Malone, who finished with nine points.

But Park countered with a basket by Khiera Hood with 40 seconds to go, giving Park a 56-55 advantage.

That set the stage for Jones to deliver the play of the game.

“She hasn’t even tapped the surface of her abilities yet,’’ Case coach Wally Booker said of the 5-7 Jones.

While Jones came up the game-winning basket, the Eagles benefitted from an excellent game by sophomore Ariyah Brooks. She totaled 23 points and 18 rebounds.

Junior Jade Griffin led a balanced Panthers’ scoring attack with 11 points. Senior Makenna Anderson and junior Iyana Thompson finished with 10 points apiece.

“We just missed too many free throws and lay-ins down the stretch,’’ Park coach Carey Palacios said. “You have to do the little things like that to win games.

“But it was a good game. Both teams played hard.’’

Case 57, Park 56

CASE (3-11)

Brooks 8 7-14 23, Malone 1 7-13 9, Jones 3 2-4 9, Nwanosike 4 0-1 8, Oliver 2 1-4 5, Heffel 1 0-1 2, Bethke 0 1-2 1. Totals 19 18-39 57.

PARK (4-10)

Griffin 5 0-0 11, Anderson 4 2-4 10, Thompson 5 0-1 10, Betker 4 1-4 9, Hood 3 1-3 7, Gomez 2 0-0 6, Senzig 2 0-0 3. Totals 24 4-12 56.

Halftime—Park 25, Case 24. 3-point goals—Jones, Griffin, Gomez 2, Senzig. Total fouls—Case 17, Park 24. Fouled out—Oliver. Rebounds—Case 70 (Brooks 14), Park 57 (Anderson 17).

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Sports Reporter

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