Lady Trojans make last shot in OT thriller

While the Park Hill and Platte County girls basketball teams have met often in recent years, the matchup is not really viewed as a rivalry game.  That might change after Monday night’s clash. Park Hill junior Jaleiyah Gibbs hit a three-pointer that may or may not have beaten the buzzer and the Lady Trojans escaped with a 50-47 victory over Platte County. Gibbs’ shot was set up after Platte County’s Madysen Fine missed a pair of free throws with 18 seconds left. The Lady Trojans brought the ball across half court and made a few passes before the ball wound up in Gibbs’ hands with about one second left. She took a few quick dribbles and then let the shot fly. The ball swished through the net, the referees signaled the shot was good and Park Hill students rushed the floor in celebration. Platte County head coach Chris Stubbs tried to protest that Gibbs’ shot came too late, but the call stood. After the game, Stubbs did not comment on the controversial shot. “They made one more play than we did,” Stubbs said. “We were really proud of our girls.  They are still learning how to close out games and I’m still learning how to put them in positions to help get them a win.” Park Hill coach Aaron Neeser also declined to comment about the last shot. “I’m just really proud our kids found a way to win,” he said. “We made some plays when we needed to.” Midway through the third quarter, it looked like Park Hill would not need any late-game heroics — the Lady Trojans broke open a close game at halftime with an 11-3 spurt and took a 32-21 lead. But Platte County slowly inched back into the game and closed to within 37-36 on a steal and bucket by Jessie Hoover with a little under two minutes left in the game. Two free throws by Park Hill’s Katie Reichert gave the Lady Trojans a 39-36 lead with 15 seconds left, setting up the first clutch shot of the game — Brooke Zenner’s three-pointer from the top of the key that pulled Platte County even at 39-39. A shot at the buzzer by Park Hill’s Morgen Smith rattled out and the game went to overtime. Park Hill led early in the extra period before baskets by Gabby Robinson and Fine pushed the Lady Pirates to a 47-45 lead. Park Hill’s Kaylyn Magee hit a pair of free throws to knot the game at 47 with 50 seconds left before the final sequence leading to Gibbs’s game-winner. Reichert led all scorers with 24 points, while Magee scored 14. Platte County was paced by 17 points from Fine and 13 from Robinson. The Lady Pirates were hurt by poor free throw shooting — they hit just 8-of-23 attempts from the charity stripe. Park Hill made 14-of-24 free throws. Both coaches said the series has been a competitive one — the teams have met not only in home and away games, but have played several times in the Basehor-Linwood (Kan.) and North Kansas City Tournaments. “They have won the last three times — I’m not sure it’s a rivalry game but it’s been hard fought the past few years,” Stubbs said. “We know every time we play Platte County they will be well-coached and ready to battle,” Neeser said. The loss pushed Park Hill to 4-3 and dropped Platte County to 0-7. Platte County will play at St. Joseph Central Dec. 19, while Park Hill will play at Kearney that night.