North Platte girls win 19th consecutive game

Last week was a good one for the North Platte girls basketball team. The Lady Panthers, ranked in various state polls from sixth to as high as second in Class 2, avenged their only loss of the season, then closed out the week with their 19th straight win. North Platte, now 20-1, was scheduled to play at Mid-Buchanan Feb. 18 with an outright KCI Conference title — the third in four years for North Platte — on the line. North Platte won 58-34 over Lawson in its first game of the week, avenging its only loss, which came way back in December in the finals of the KCI Conference tourney. The Lady Panthers made sure there would be no repeat with a dominating performance, led by Chelsi Sams’ 17 points and six rebounds and 15 points and five steals from Erin Manville. “We played an outstanding game defensively and were able to force 31 turnovers against a solid ball handling team,” North Platte coach Karl Matt said. “We were able to execute well offensively and get the scoring opportunities that we were looking for.” North Platte followed that up with a 54-20 win over DeKalb Feb. 13 and then won 50-43 at Plattsburg on Feb. 14. In the DeKalb win, North Platte led 27-7 at halftime. Maddie Roberts scored 14 points, Courtney Kipping had 10 and Katie Heese added nine. At Plattsburg, the Lady Panthers got 16 points from Sams and eight points from Sarah Johnson. “The girls have risen to the occasion and have put themselves in position to have an opportunity to win the conference outright,” said Matt, whose team will close out the regular season Feb. 20 at Wellington-Napoleon. North Platte drew the top seed in the Class 2 District 15 Tournament, set for Feb. 24-March 1 at Mid-Buchanan High School. The Lady Panthers will play the winner of the Feb. 24 West Platte/Lone Jack game at 6 p.m. Feb. 26. The final is set for 1 p.m. March 1.