DEARBORN, Mo. — North Platte carried over some momentum from an upset victory earlier in the week but not quite enough.
An early lead disappeared in the third quarter Friday, Feb. 3 at North Platte High School, and the Panthers ended up with a 45-37 loss to Lathrop. Ben French’s 3-pointer on a pass from Austin Snook helped North Platte to a fast start, but the Panthers dropped to 1-3 in KCI Conference play.
“Hit a few shots early, got our momentum going,” North Platte coach Tim Sutton said of the fast start. “Just got into a situation kind of in the third quarter where we got some good looks, but they’re length caused good shots to be tough shots to make.”
Winners of three straight and coming off a victory over Mound City three days earlier, North Platte jumped to a 13-5 lead after the first quarter. The Panthers scored just 15 points combined in the next 16 minutes and went into the fourth quarter down 34-18.
French ended up with a team-high 12 points with one 3, while Snook added eight points with two 3s.
“For us it just comes down to on an individual nightly basis how well we can put it in the basket,” Sutton said. “We shot it well in two quarters and scored quite a few points then two quarters we struggled to shoot a little bit, but when we’re consistent with our offense and get good quality shots, we’re good.”
North Platte sat at 7-12 overall after the third straight loss in league play entering a Tuesday, Feb. 7 KCI matchup with conference leader Lawson.
Having reached the district final last year, the Panthers have again shown progress in the middle of the season with the postseason quickly approaching. They have four games left — three tough ones in the KCI — before trying to put the growth on display in the Class 2 District 15 tournament later this month.
“As always, I think our kids just compete and play hard, and when you compete and play hard, you always give yourself a chance,” Sutton said. “This is a tough minded, hard-nosed group. Just trust me; they’ll keep going.”
East Buchanan 59, West Platte 31
The Bluejays again didn’t have a double-digit scorer in a KCI loss Friday, Feb. 3 in Gower, Mo.
East Buchanan led 24-14 at halftime and then pulled away with Ethan Kilgore scoring 14 of his game-high 32 points in the third quarter. West Platte tallied just two points in the fourth quarter and dropped to 0-4 in league play this season.
Phillip Pattison, Jonah Vandel and Cole Whalen combined to score 15 points for West Platte in the third quarter. Pattison had seven of his nine, while Vandel had four of his eight and Whalen four of his six in the frame.
North Platte 49, Mound City 43
North Platte extended their win streak to three, limiting Mound City to just four points in a decisive third quarter Tuesday, Jan. 31 in Dearborn, Mo.
French kept North Platte close with 12 of his 16 points in the first half. Mound City led 26-24 at the break, but North Platte pushed back ahead in the third quarter with Snook hitting a pair of 3s on his way to 10 points.
North Platte held on despite shooting just 3-for-11 on free throws, but Hunter Oliver hit a pair in the fourth quarter.
West Platte 52, DeKalb 34
The Bluejays ended a 12-game losing streak with a comeback victory Thursday, Feb. 2 in Weston, Mo.
Nick Miller, a senior guard, led West Platte with 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, while Pattison added 10. DeKalb led 14-8 after the first quarter but trailed by halftime with the Bluejays outscoring the Tigers in each of the final three quarters.
West Platte’s losing streak had stretched back to the end of November.