North Platte girls back in KCI title game looking to defend crown

North Platte opened the KCI Conference Tournament with a blowout win in a rematch of last year’s title game. Facing the host, The Panthers put three players in double figures in a 60-38 win against Hamilton on Saturday, Dec. 5 at Penney High School in Hamilton, Mo. The two teams met four times a year ago with both teams winning twice. North Platte won both KCI Tournament and regular season games, but lost the Lawson Invitation title and Class 2 District 16 championship games to the Hornets.

No. 1 North Platte then defeated Lathrop 44-31 in the semfinals on Tuesday, Dec. 8, but details weren’t available at The Citizen’s deadline. The Panthers play in the championship game scheduled for Friday, Dec. 11 seeking a repeat title.

Emmie Lee went a perfect 8-for-8 on free throws in the first round win against Hamilton, finishing with a team-high 14 points. Brittney Gerling (12 points) and Kaycee Hodgson (10 points) rounded out the trio of double-figure scorers while Maddie Lee and Janell Manville tallied eight apiece while combining for 11 rebounds.

Alley Rickel finished with five assists, while Emmie Lee notched six steals.

West Platte 37, Plattsburg 22

The Bluejays won a KCI Tournament game for the first time since 2006, advancing to the consolation final Monday, Dec. 7 in Hamilton, Mo.

West Platte plays No. 4 seed Lawson on Thursday, Dec. 10. The Bluejays last victory in the tournament came in 2006 with a blowout of Lathrop in the consolation final.

West Platte scored 16 points in the first quarter and held a seven-point lead at halftime. The Bluejays took control by outscoring Plattsburg 10-4 in the third quarter. The Tigers scored eight in the first quarter — their most in any frame.

Nealie Niemeier led all scorers with 18 points, the lone player for either team in double figures. She hit three 3-pointers. Karen Knox hit a pair of treys and tallied eight points. Taylor Binkley and Gretchen Hiatt added five points apiece.

East Buchanan 64, West Platte 59

The seventh-seeded Bluejays nearly pulled off a first-round upset with 19 points in the fourth quarter Saturday, Dec. 5 in Hamilton, Mo.

Niemeier hit three 3-pointers on the way to 19 points, while Binkley added 12 points. East Buchanan attempted 25 free throws, while the Bluejays tried just 11 and made only four. They tallied five 3-pointers total, including one apiece for Hiatt (nine points) and Lauren Moose (five points).

East Buchanan led 54-40 after the third quarter.

Other games

North Platte 51, Lone Jack 32

The Panthers pulled away with 22 points in the fourth quarter, while holding the Mules to just seven in the final 8 minutes Tuesday, Dec. 1 in Lone Jack, Mo.

Maddie Lee and Emmie Lee scored 13 points apiece to lead North Platte to a second straight win to start the season. Lone jack attempted 30 free throws but made only 14 in the loss.

North Platte led 16-15 at halftime before nearly matching that with 13 in the third quarter and then the big fourth quarter.

West Platte 59, Orrick 30

Knox, Hannah McGivern and Niemeier all scored in double figures, and 10 players were on the score sheet in a blowout win Tuesday, Dec. 1 in Weston, Mo.

Knox hit five of West Platte’s seven 3-pointers on her way to a game-high 16 points becoming the third different player to lead the Bluejays in scoring in the first three games. McGivern (14 points vs. Orrick) and Niemeier (10 points vs. Orrick) were the first two.

Orrick scored just 10 points total in the second half after trailing 30-20 at halftime.