With the result well in hand, Platte County coach Chris Stubbs continued to give increased minutes to less experienced players. At least this time, the decision was by choice.
Rachel Holden finally saw extended action for the Pirates in the second half of a 60-37 win against Winnetonka on Thursday, Feb. 11 at Platte County High School. A senior expected to start and be a central figure this season, she came back from injury for a third time this year, playing in a mask designed to protect her mending broken nose.
Holden hit three baskets in the third quarter and finished with eight points — all in the second half — and looked more comfortable, despite missing a couple of close shots. She’s still trying to adjust after missing a month with a foot injury while playing in just a second game since suffering the broken nose on January 21.
“I’ll get back in it,” said Holden, the leading scorer and rebounder for Platte County last season. “I’ve just got to get back in shape. I couldn’t do anything with that (nose) cast on. I couldn’t sweat so I couldn’t run or anything.
“It’s always nice to not really be concerned with the scoreboard, but it was a good game for me to come back and work on getting myself back in the game.”
A rash of injuries and illnesses has tested Platte County’s depth, but the Pirates have now won two straight, improving to 11-10 overall and 5-2 in Suburban Conference Blue Division play.
Platte County led by as much as 27 in the fourth quarter against Winnetonka, easily dispatching the Griffins for the third time this season. Pirates senior guard Lindsey Bogart hit her third 3-pointer and freshman Hannah Valentine added her only one during the first 2 minutes of the third quarter, stretching Winnetonka’s deficit to 38-19.
Platte County’s lead twice hit 23 in the third quarter with Bogart adding her fourth and final 3 to finish with a team-high 12 points, and Holden contributing her late flurry in her most extensive usage since the nose injury.
With no absences for the first time in weeks, Platte County showed a glimmer of its early season potential again and working Holden back into the rotation could help make a push in the Blue Division race. The Pirates have won two straight entering a critical rematch with Kearney scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 18.
“Part of (playing competitive with good teams) is having everyone back healthy to match up and compete,” Stubbs said. “Everything’s where it should be, just hopefully it’s not too late.”
Winnetonka threw in five 3-pointers, most of them on difficult looks, to occasionally make the conference matchup competitive.
However, Platte County opened on a 10-0 run, and Liz Peterson scored six of her 12 points in the first quarter. Up 14-8 to start the second quarter, the Pirates’ lead was down to 14-11 after the Griffins’ third 3, but Bogart answered with her first 3, a shot from the right wing.
That shot triggered a 13-0 run that included a steal and layup for Platte County junior guard Ava White’s only basket, and she capped the run with another steal and assist to Koryne Matthews for another layup to make it 27-11 Pirates.
“My main thing is defense. I like keeping it high intensity,” said White, who picked up her third foul late in the second quarter while hounding a Winnetonka dribbler leading a bench player for the Griffins to mark her exit with a “Bye Felicia.” “If one person gets it going, the whole team catches on and we get stops left and right.
“Scoring isn’t my main thing, but I think getting stops, that really helps because there’s other people that can step up and score. I can hold it down on defense.”
The defensive pressure kept up without White, who started in place of Holden.
Late in the second quarter, Bogart hit another 3 from the right wing with about 5 seconds to go in the half, and Valentine stole the ensuing inbounds pass. She converted a contested layup at the buzzer to put Platte County up 32-17 at the break.
Valentine, one of the players to see an increase in minutes late in the season, finished with eight points off the bench.
“That’s something we’ve been looking for — that spark to end a quarter or a half,” Stubbs said. “I talked to them about that at halftime: those spark plays to get the momentum shifted back in your direction. That was big, five-point swing.”
Platte County 75, Raytown South 30
The Pirates moved back above .500 with 11 players scoring at least two points Monday, Feb. 15 in Raytown, Mo.
The win put Platte County one game back in the loss column of Kearney and Grandview for the lead in the Blue Division standings. Platte County still has one game left with each of those teams plus the rematch with fourth-place Belton, which Platte County edged in their first meeting last week.
Against Raytown South, Chambers scored a game-high 17 points, while Peterson joined her in double figures with 11. Jaycie Stubbs had nine points and six assists.
St. Teresa’s Academy 64, Platte County 47
The Pirates totaled just 19 points in the second half after going into the break tied in a nonconference game Tuesday, Feb. 9 in Kansas City, Mo.
St. Teresa’s Academy scored 19 in the third quarter to take a 10-point lead and continued to push the advantage to the finish. Jaycie Stubbs scored 13 points with three 3-pointers in the loss for the Pirates, who yielded six total 3s to the Stars.
White added 11 points and Rockey Chambers nine for Platte County.