North Platte girls trying to grow during losing skid

DEARBORN, Mo. — North Platte’s struggles continued and so did their frustrating losing streak in a return to KCI Conference play Friday, Feb. 3.

With just one senior on the roster, the Panthers continue to focus on improvement as the regular season winds down. The 52-34 loss to Lathrop at North Platte High School dropped them to 3-16 overall on the season, winless in four league games.

NICK INGRAM/Citizen photo North Platte junior Alley Rickel (22) takes a shot over a Lathrop defender during a KCI Conference game Friday, Feb. 3 at North Platte High School in Dearborn, Mo.

NICK INGRAM/Citizen photo
North Platte junior Alley Rickel (22) takes a shot over a Lathrop defender during a KCI Conference game Friday, Feb. 3 at North Platte High School in Dearborn, Mo.

North Platte had lost 12 straight entering a Tuesday, Feb. 7 game at Lawson. The result was not available at The Citizen’s deadline.

“You find little goals, and I think as a team you know whether you’re getting better or not,” North Platte coach Ryan Davis said. “A lot of times you have ups and downs, and you might take a step forward then a step back. You’ve got to focus on the process of getting better and are we playing better as a team rather than what all the end results are.”

The biggest issue continues to be consistent offense.

North Platte trailed 29-19 against Lathrop and then scored just 15 points in the second half while losing ground to the Mules. Grace Rice, a sophomore forward, continued a strong run of play with a team-high 12 points, while junior guard Alley Rickel hit a 3-pointer in each half — a good sign for a player who shot well early in the season but has slumped in recent weeks.

North Platte lost seven seniors, including all five starters, from last year’s Class 2 playoff team. The Panthers have a different district this year and a new challenge for a program used to nothing but success for the past decade-plus.

Abby Fisher is the lone senior for North Platte.

“You want to keep developing your players but you also want to do right by your seniors, as well,” Davis said.  “Abby’s played four years for the program and has done a great job, and I thought tonight was probably her best ball game; I thought she played excellent defense for us. We’re going to trying to keep building on this year and keep developing the players we’ll have in the future as well.”

East Buchanan 52, West Platte 34

Josie Fortney scored a game-high 32 points, helping hand the Bluejays a KCI Conference loss Friday, Feb. 3 in Gower, Mo.

West Platte (10-9, 1-3 KCI) scored just 18 points in the first three quarters and were unable to hang with Fortney and the high-scoring Bulldogs. Nealie Niemeier led the Bluejays with 13 points, while sophomore Lea Moose added eight with two of their four 3s.

Mound City 40, North Platte 19

North Platte’s offensive woes hurt again, scoring just four points combined in the second and third quarters Tuesday, Jan. 31 in Dearborn, Mo. Jordyn Smith, Rice and Rickel all finished with four points apiece in the loss.

Mound City led just 8-6 after the first quarter but pulled away after North Platte went into a funk.

DeKalb 39, West Platte 31

The Bluejays managed just 12 points in the second half of a nonconference loss Thursday, Feb. 2 in Weston, Mo.

Niemeier accounted for 13 points, including six of West Platte’s 12 after halftime, but didn’t receive enough support. McGivern had all four of her points in the first half, while Rachel Heili only had two of her six after halftime.

DeKalb trailed 19-17 at halftime.