North Platte suffered its first loss of the season on Saturday, Jan. 18 in the championship game of the Lawson Invitational. The Panthers lost to Hamilton — a team they had previously beaten in overtime in the KCI Conference Tournament championship game and a team they are again slated to meet on Friday, Jan. 23.
North Platte junior Erin Manville tallied a team-high 14 points and was the lone Panthers’ player to reach double figures. Hamilton had three players reach the 10-point mark with Sydney Bottorff (11 points), Morgan Prather (12) — a Wichita State track and field signee — and Shelby Kruse (game-high 18).
“We were off balance all night in terms of lineups and fatigue and were not able to play as well as we needed to defeat a great Hamilton team,” North Platte coach Karl Matt said. “Hamilton played a great game, and we will need to raise our level of play to compete with them on Friday. We are hopeful that one unfortunate night will not slow the progress we have made all year in terms of becoming a great basketball team.”
North Platte trailed 27-11 at halftime before a strong second half saw the game become tighter. Chelsi Sams — North Platte’s leading scorer — added eight points in the loss.
West Platte boys 60, Trenton 39
The Bluejays claimed the consolation win behind a 20-point night from senior Cody Guthrie. West Platte poured in 23 points in the fourth quarter to pull away. Forwards Tanner Lintner and Conner Salmons also reached double figures for the Bluejays with 15 and 10 points, respectively.
“To take the next step, we need to continue to improve defensively and continue to develop offensively,” West Platte coach Dillon Higdon said. “We are moving in a positive direction and just need to keep working hard.”
Trenton boys 69, North Platte 64
North Platte exited the Lawson Invitational after two games with the loss on Wednesday, Jan. 13 at Lawson High School in Lawson, Mo.
North Platte junior guard Andrew Roberts tallied a game-high 30 points, and the Panthers hit 10 3-pointers — three each from Roberts, junior Anthony Hernandez, and senior Austin Shanks and one from senior Kyle Bledsoe. The Bulldogs hit nine triples with a game-high six from Cree Mullenix, who scored 26 points.
Hernandez was the only other player to reach double figures with 14 points. Chris Flowers scored 15 for Trenton, one of six players who found the bucket.
North Platte coach Doug Burnett returned to the bench during the loss after missing the previous two games for unspecified reasons.
Trenton girls 33, West Platte 29
The Bluejays exited the Lawson Invitational after two games after a loss in the consolation semifinals to Trenton on Wednesday, Jan. 14.Sophomore Nealie Niemeier tallied a team-high 178 points in the loss including four 3-pointers. West Platte returns to action on Friday, Jan. 23 with a game at home against Lathrop.