Platte County boys hold off Winnetonka for 1st home win of season

Platte County earned its first home win of the season thanks to a quick start Monday, Feb. 8 at Platte County High School. BRYCE MERENESS/Citizen photo Platte County guard Tanner Newberry, left, takes a shot against Winnetonka on Monday, Feb. 8 at Platte County High School.

The Pirates made their first three shots from the field and never trailed in a 65-58 win against Winnetonka in a Suburban Conference Blue Division matchup. They still endured some tense moments late, nearly giving a double-digit lead back in the third quarter before holding on for their first win outside of tournament play all season.

“I told the kids after the game,” Platte County coach Rick Hodge said, “everything is easier and a lot more fun when you’re making shots. They shot the ball much better. It’s kind of been our Achilles’ heel most of the season. The kids played well. They handled Winnetonka’s defense.”

Platte County senior forward Nick Kunels led the way with a game-high 18 points. His 10 points in the first half helped provide a 32-22 lead at the break.

Winnetonka closed within a single possession late in the third quarter, but after Hodge made some adjustments during a timeout, Platte County cruised to a lead of as many as 14 in the fourth quarter. The Pirates entered on a six-game losing streak, the last three in league play.

“I’m thinking finally,” Kunels said. “It’s our first (home win) I wish we could start the season over, but I guess it is what it is. I’m just glad we got another win under our belt.”

Platte County improved to 3-16 entering a Friday, Jan. 12 league rematch at Grandview. The Pirates now have a chance at their first back-to-back wins of the season after enduring losing streaks of 10 and six.

Against Winnetonka, junior guard Tanner Newberry added 16 points, including three 3-pointers. He scored eight in the fourth quarter to help the Pirates pull back away after holding just a 42-38 advantage entering the final eight minutes.

Platte County senior forward put up six of his nine points in the fourth quarter.

“We had success, not just on the scoreboard,” Hodge said. “You saw little successes throughout the game. We reduced our turnovers. We did a better job with footwork and handling the pressure, handling the ball and things like that.”

Raytown South 52, Platte County 37

The Pirates started slow and couldn’t recover despite 13 points for Kodee Martin on Friday, Feb. 5 in Raytown, Mo.

Platte County had lost three straight in Suburban Conference Blue Division play and six in a row overall entering a Tuesday, Feb. 9 league matchup with Winnetonka. The result was not available at The Citizen’s deadline.

Raytown South led 15-7 after the first quarter and limited the Pirates to just four points in the third quarter. Martin hit a pair of 3s to lead all scorers, while Platte County’s Grant Carver added 10 — the only other player for either team in double figures.

Kearney 68, Platte County 46

A big second quarter led the Bulldogs to a Blue Division win Tuesday, Feb. 2 in Kearney, Mo. Carver scored a game-high 20 points, his best output of the season, but couldn’t fuel a comeback for Platte County, which trailed just 15-13 after the first quarter. Kearney outscored the Pirates 41-23 over the next two quarters to take control.

Nick Kunels added 10 points for Platte County, including a 3-pointer.