GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — Platte County was vying to do something that hadn’t been done in at least 10 years — winning multiple tournaments in one season.
The Pirates entered the championship game of the 20th Annual Sonic Showdown Grain Valley Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 27, as the No. 4 seed facing No. 3 seed Staley in the title game.
Platte County led early and then spent the rest of the contest playing catch up and the Pirates nearly did it, but came up short 66-61.
The Pirates went 2-1 in the tournament and were vying to win a second title this year after claiming first at Savannah earlier this season.
“When you go to a tournament you want to win three, but you certainly want to win two and not only winning two but I think we grew,” Platte County coach Rick Hodge said. “We grew as a group and we grew as a team. I think we started to come together a little bit more as a team. That is what you want this time of the year. That is what you are hoping for you want to be playing your best basketball at the end of the season and that is what we are striving for.”
The loss was the third straight against Staley for the Pirates (8-9) and like the previous setbacks, this one was close as well. The three losses have been by a combined 11 points to the Falcons.
The Pirates pulled within a possession multiple times, but never could get over the hump. Platte County used a 7-0 run in the first quarter to take its only lead of the contest, but Staley (10-7) went on a 9-3 run to close the frame to lead 15-12 after the first 8 minutes.
The Falcons built a 12 point lead in the second quarter, but couldn’t stop Deiondre Ragsdale after that point, as he scored 12 of the next 14 points for the Pirates and pulled them within 32-30 with less than 1:30 left.
A 3-pointer by Nick Rumbo — who tied a school-record with 35 points —gave the Falcons a 37-30 lead at the break.
An offensive rebound and bucket by Lucas Stanley held the Pirates within 41-38 with 5:42 to go in the third quarter but Staley again pulled away thanks to Rumbo, who had a dunk during his own 7-2 run.
Twice over the final 45 seconds of the third the Pirates found a way to get back in the game. A layup by Dylan Gilbert pulled Platte County within 50-47 with 32 seconds left and with 14.4 seconds left to free throws by Ethan Esdohr made it 51-49.
A pair of buckets by Staley gave them a 54-49 lead going into the fourth.
“High school kids will get a little comfort and do something they want to do or have thoughts of grandiose actions,” Staley coach Chris Neff said. “The big was they never tied it. When they tried to make it close or take the advantage in the third, we were fortunate to get a big rebound, a loose ball, a situation to get a turnover.”
The Falcons went up by seven points in the final quarter, but the Pirates kept finding a way to stay in the game. A pair of free throws from Nathen Mair cut the deficit down to 61-58 with 1:17 left.
Down 63-59, a steal by Platte County looked like an opportune chance to cut into the deficit with two players out front in transition but a turnover followed.
A one-possession game was turned into two when Rumbo hit two free throws with 17.4 seconds to make it 65-59. After two free throws by Platte County, Rumbo hit one to account for the final margin.
“No. 3 played well and shot well,” Hodge said of Rumbo, who had 16 in the second half. “They hit free throws well down the stretch and they got the ball handlers to kill the clock. You are hoping they will miss some. We had opportunities. We got it down to a one-possession game late. That is what you ask for.
“When they needed to make plays, they made a play or when they needed to hit a free throw, they made a free throw. You have got to give them credit.”
Ragsdale finished with 28 points for the Pirates to lead the offense.
Platte County 56, Grain Valley 55
Deiondre Ragsdale hit the go-ahead free throw to lift the Pirates to a victory over the host Eagles in the semifinals on Thursday, Jan. 25, in Grain Valley, Mo.
Platte County jumped out to a 16-9 after the first quarter and led 27-21 at the break.
At one point in the third quarter, the Pirates led 43-29 before a 12-0 run rally by the Eagles (14-2) got them back in the contest.
The Eagles outscored Platte County in the fourth by one but trailed 56-52 after Ragsdale hit one of two free throws with 10 seconds left. Ethan Macoumbie hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to account for the final score. Ragsdale finished with 17 points — including four 3-pointers — the lead the Pirates in scoring. Ethan Esdohr hit a pair of 3s and finished with 13, while Lucas Stanley also had 13 for Platte County and both Esdohr and Stanley had seven rebounds. John Watts led the team with nine boards.
Platte County was 6-for-14 from the 3-point line in the victory — which gave a bit of revenge for a 66-39 thumping to Grain Valley on Dec. 18.
“They took it to us a month ago,” Platte County coach Rick Hodge said. “There were so many bullet points we laid out to the team. We have to improve on this, this, this and this and they did. They executed on every one of them. You take a team that beat us by 25 and we beat them. That shows the improvement we have made in the last month.”
Platte County 57, Pleasant Hill 49
The Pirates opened the tournament play with a victory against the Roosters, aided by allowing only two buckets in the fourth quarter, in a win on Tuesday, Jan. 23, in Grain Valley, Mo.
Platte County led 44-41 going into the fourth but gave up a pair of 3s to Pleasant Hill, while using a big close from Deiondre Ragsdale to secure the win. The senior scored seven of his game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter — the third quarter where he had at least seven points.
Tied at 14 after the first quarter, the Pirates led 33-25 at the break.
Ragsdale had nine in the first quarter and had 16 in the first half, which included two 3-pointers. Lucas Stanley had 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds, tying a team-high with John Watts. Ethan Esdohr had eight points – six in the second quarter — six rebounds and three steals.
The Pirates return to Suburban Conference Blue play with a pair of regular-season contest this week. The three-game homestand for the Pirates begins with a Wednesday, Jan. 31 against Winnetonka.
The game was originally schedule for Tuesday but due to issues with the power, the game as pushed back a day.
Prior to the start of the game, there will be a momentum of silence for former Platte County student Luke Hogue, who died in a car accident on Saturday.
The Pirates will then host Raytown South on Friday, Feb. 2 on what will be Hall of Fame Night at PCHS. The induction ceremony will be between the JV and varsity game at approximately 6:45 to 7 p.m.
This year’s inductees include Binny Pearce (retired principal/teacher), Rob and Camelia Barmann (district, athletic and community supporters) and the late Landon Jaros (honoree inductee, son of Todd and Megan Jaros).