West Platte boys could run into familiar foes if they advance in state playoffs
The West Platte boys basketball team’s postseason is shaping up to be a reunion tour of sorts. Less than a week after it won the Class 2 District 15 title by dispatching bitter rival Mid-Buchanan for the seventh time in eight meetings the past two years – including last year’s district title game – the Jays, 26-1, were set to square off at 7:45 p.m. tonight (March 5) in a sectional playoff game at Staley High School with another familiar foe: KCI Conference rival East Buchanan. West Platte topped East Buch, 21-7 in their lone meeting this year so far: 54-41 on Feb. 7. The Bulldogs advanced to the sectional with a 41-37 win over Gallatin for the District 16 crown. “It looks good for the Conference when you have a sectional match-up with two KCI teams,” West Platte coach Zane Tanner said. “East Buch has a team with a lot of depth and they try to put a lot of pressure on you. We will have to take care of the ball and attack their pressure.” Tanner declined to speculate about the Jays’ next foe should they win tonight, so The Citizen will take a look ahead. If West Platte wins in the sectional round, it will advance to a quarterfinal playoff game at 2 p.m. this Saturday at Independence Events center. The Jays’ opponent could very well be an undefeated Sacred Heart team from Sedalia that West Platte also met in the quarterfinal playoffs last year. The Jays won that game 76-66, but Sacred Heart has not lost since. They entered their sectional playoff game versus Skyline with a 27-0 record this season. If West Platte prevails in that game, it will earn a second straight trip to the Class 2 final four, where it could again meet an opponent it played in the semifinals at Mizzou Arena last season: Iberia. The Jays won that game, 57-48, though it was a bittersweet victory. West Platte leading scorer Adam Roe went down late in that game with a knee injury that caused him to miss the state title game, where the Jays were whipped by Salisbury. Iberia is on the opposite side of the bracket this year, though, so if the two teams keep advancing, they will not meet until the Class 2 championship game, set for 8:10 p.m. March 15 at Mizzou Arena. The Class 2 semifinals will be played at 6:40 p.m. and 8:20 p.m. March 13 at the Hearnes Center in Columbia. The third place game will be played at 7:45 p.m. March 14 at Mizzou Arena. DOWN TO THE WIRE West Platte nearly didn’t make it to the state playoffs. The Jays had to dig deep to knock off an 18-win Mid-Buch team 62-60 in the Class 2 District 15 title game last Saturday in Faucett. The win avenged the Jays’ only loss of the season — a 10-point setback Feb. 11 when Roe did not play due to a suspension for a technical foul in the game prior. West Platte looked like it had the game under control a couple of times; they led 55-45 early in the fourth quarter. But Mid-Buch, behind the three-point shooting of senior Colton Hoffman and sophomore Bradyn Kemper, roared back. And the Dragons’ home court fans roared, too, especially when Hoffman banked in a three-pointer with 20 seconds left that pulled the Dragons to within 61-60.