West Platte boys fall short in quest to reach second straight final four

Give Adam Roe credit. The West Point-bound senior from West Platte needed only a few minutes to lift himself up after a disappointing letdown. “This was tough,” the 6-foot-6 all-stater said after concluding his stellar high school basketball career one step shy of a second straight trip to the State Final Four in Columbia. He then immediately put the Blue Jays’ 64-61 loss to Sacred Heart (Sedalia) in last Saturday’s Class 2 quarterfinals into perspective: “But losing only three games in two years isn’t bad. We had a fun ride. We’ve got nothing to hang our heads about.” While Sacred Heart’s 29-0 Gremlins advance to this Thursday’s semifinal against Thayer, West Platte bows out at 27-2 — an undeniably successful season, just not quite as successful as the Jays had hoped for. After nearly achieving perfection last year at 30-1 — with their lone loss coming against Salisbury in the state title game, which Roe missed after tearing the ACL in his right knee two nights before in the semis — the Jays fixed their sights for 2013-14 on winning it all. Last Saturday’s quarterfinal at the Independence Events Center did have a definite state-championship air about it. The Gremlins concluded the regular season atop the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association’s final Class 2 poll, just two notches above West Platte, the pre-season No. 1. The consensus along media row was that this game should have been played on an even bigger stage this weekend in Columbia. The two teams lived up to the hype. In addition to the score being tied on 13 separate occasions — 14 if you count 0-0 — the lead changed hands 13 different times. “I loved the atmosphere, I loved the competitiveness,” West Platte coach Zane Tanner said. “I love how both teams had to run their stuff well. It was no more than a four-point game throughout most of the game. That’s just fun basketball.”