WELLINGTON, Mo. — North Platte, coming off an upset in the Class 2 District 15 Tournament, started out strong to get the semifinals on Friday, Feb. 23.
The Panthers hit back-to-back 3-pointers early in the first quarter and held an early four-point advantage against Concordia, the No. 2 seed.
But the Orioles limited North Platte to only two points in the second quarter and that paved the way for a 60-48 victory at Wellington-Napoleon High School.
Concordia (17-10) rallied from the early deficit and led 13-10 after the end first quarter.
The lead grew slowly for the Orioles, starting with two free throws from Kade Meintza and then a bucket by Matt Gatewood led to Tim Sutton calling a timeout. North Platte (7-18) got a bucket from Bart Owens, but that was it for the Panthers.
Concordia closed on a 6-0 run and led 23-12 at the break.
“The second quarter was our undoing, we got down a little bit,” Sutton said. “We’ve been shooting well from the perimeter in practice and in games and we ran some plays to get some 3s. We got them, we just didn’t make them.”
North Platte got baskets from Hunter Hendricks and Andrew Hernandez early in the third to trim the deficit down to six points, but trailed 41-30 going into the fourth.
Owens final basket in the fourth, with 6:40 to go, pulled North Platte within eight and a 3-pointer by Hernandez trimmed the Panthers’ deficit down to 47-39 with 4:02 to play.
A minute and half later, the Orioles — the runners-up in the district — led by 15 points to pull away for good.
Hernendez, Jessie Martin, Caine Huffman and Hendricks all had eight points for North Platte, while Owens had seven.
Gatewood had a game-high 20 for Concordia, a member of the I-70 Conference.
“I don’t know how to say it without it sounding like a cliché, but we are better than our record,” Sutton said. “We played a lot of really good teams. We will end up playing four teams in the entire season that didn’t have a winning record. That’s a tough schedule. We got a couple handed to us, but we were competitive in a lot of basketball games.
“We played a lot of good games. It is about wins and we didn’t succeed on that path, but we had a lot of success as a team and got better as the year went.”
North Platte 59
Lone Jack 56 – overtime
The Panthers reached the semifinal game with an upset victory on Wednesday, Feb. 21.
North Platte, seeded sixth, led after each of the first three quarters, but the No. 3 seeded Mules forced overtime by tying the game at 49 thanks to a 19-point fourth quarter.
In the extra session, Austin Snook made a basket and hit two free throws, while Andrew Hernandez also made a bucket to help the Panthers cap the win.
North Platte led 25-23 at the break and the two-point lead carried into the fourth as the two teams scored the same amount of points in the third quarter.
Lone Jack got seven points of Ryan Adams’ 17 in the fourth, while two others hit a 3-pointer in the frame. Hernandez had 10 of the Panthers’ 17 points in the fourth.
Snook had a game-high 19 for the Panthers, while Hernandez finished with 16.
West Platte 36
In the opening round game on Wednesday, Feb. 21, the top-seeded Tigers used a 37-point first half to pull away.
The Tigers, the district champs, went up 14-5 after the first and then poured on 23 points in the second. Nine of those points came from Jordan Hill, who had 12 for Well-Nap.
West Platte had 14 in the second quarter, six of which came from Truman Gillis, who had a game-high 10.
The Tigers (21-7) received a game-high 24 points from Trey Shannon.
The Bluejays finished the 2017-18 season at 3-20.