North Platte gave up the early run it couldn’t afford. In the KCI Conference Tournament championship game, Mid-Buchanan built a nine-point lead in the first quarter and held off multiple charges in a 58-55 win Friday, Dec. 11 in Hamilton, Mo. The Panthers — defending champions — received 17 points from senior Emmie Lee but couldn’t control Dragons sophomore Jill Rumpf, who tallied a game-high 27 points.
Rumpf hit four free throws in the final minute to hold North Platte off.
“For our basketball, we can’t give up 58, and Rumpf is a good player but we’ve got to find a way to stop a good player,” first-year North Platte coach Ryan Davis said. “She isn’t the only good player we will play. She is very good, but we have to find a way to beat good players and good teams."
North Platte dropped to 4-1 on the season after opening at No. 6 in the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association rankings.
Seeded No. 1 in the tournament, the Panthers made a late 10-0 run to earn a chance at stealing the win. There were nine lead changes, and North Platte’s Gracie Roach and Emmie Lee combined to score the 10 points to put the Panthers ahead for the final time at 50-49 with 2 minutes, 22 seconds to play.
After Lee hit a pair of free throws, Rumpf hit a driving layup, and a North Platte turnover led to Brylee Kemper’s layup to put the Dragons back up three.
The lead went back to five for Mid-Buchanan, and Brittney Gerling’s layup in the paint cut it back to one possession with 26.3 seconds to go. Lee’s final basket with 2 seconds left made it 57-55, but Kemper’s free throw with 1.3 to go sealed the win.
Mid-Buchanan led 6-0 and 9-2 before extending that to 16-7 in the first quarter. Six unanswered to close the frame kept North Platte around, and the Panthers led for most of the third quarter. Rumpf hit a pair of baskets in the final 10 seconds to go ahead 41-39 entering the final 8 minutes.
The run extended to 12-1 to provide Mid-Buchanan with a 49-40 advantage that North Platte initially overcame.
North Platte 44, Lathrop 31
The Panthers held the Mules to just 12 points in the second half, pulling away for a semifinal victory Tuesday, Dec. 8.
Gerling nearly notched a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds. She went 6-for-8 on free throws overall. Emmie Lee led North Platte with 14 points and four steals, while Maddie Lee finished with five points, five rebounds and three assists while holding Lathrop’s leading scorer without a point in the final three quarters in the Panthers’ man-to-man defense.
North Platte led just 19-18 at halftime.
Lawson 29, West Platte 24
The Bluejays started slow and didn’t recover in a consolation final loss Thursday, Dec. 10 in Hamilton, Mo.
Coming off the program’s first win in the KCI Tournament since 2006, West Platte scored just seven points in the first half and trailed 20-12 after the third quarter. Gretchen Hiatt led the Bluejays with 12 points, including their only 3-pointer.
West Platte hit just nine field goals total while going 5-for-12 on free throws.
West Platte 52, KC Lutheran 41
Hiatt scored 16, and Taylor Binkley added 13 to help the Bluejays pull away in the second half of a nonconference matchup Monday, Dec. 14 in Kansas City, Mo.
Lutheran led 15-13 at halftime after both teams scored four points during a slow fourth quarter. West Platte then put up 18 and 21 points in the final two quarters for their fourth win of the season. The Bluejays are now 4-3 after winning just eight games all of last season.
West Platte finishes out its schedule ahead of the holiday break vs. Hogan Prep (Thursday, Dec. 17) and vs. Plattsburg (Thursday, Dec. 18) in the KCI Conference opener for both teams.
North Platte 52, Hamilton 51
Anthony Hernandez continued his strong shooting to open the season, hitting five 3-pointers on his way to a team-high 18 points in the Panthers’ consolation final victory Thursday, Dec. 10 in Hamilton, Mo.
The score ended up tied at 51 with 30 seconds to go. North Platte held for the final shot and senior Andrew Roberts drove and passed to forward Austin Reynolds, who drew a two-shot foul with 2.7 seconds go. Reynolds made the first and missed the second on purpose, and Hamilton’s ¾-court shot at the buzzer hit the rim and bounced away.
North Platte overcame a 28-20 halftime deficit to improve to 4-1 in coach Tim Sutton’s first season. The Panthers won only seven games in all of 2014-15, including an 0-2 showing in the league tournament.
Roberts added 17 points, combining with Hernandez to score nearly 2/3 of North Platte’s points. He also hit a 3 — one of eight for the Panthers overall. Hamilton hit nine 3s but lost the lead after being outscored 21-12 in the third quarter.