Platte County keeps showing ways to fight, even during a tough stretch of play in Suburban Conference Blue Division play.
Down double digits to start the fourth quarter as a huge underdog, the Pirates cut Grandview’s lead to nine in a wild fourth quarter sequence. Some woes at the free throw line didn’t allow them to draw closer in a 77-59 loss to the Bulldogs on Friday, Feb. 10 at Platte County High School.
Grandview (18-3, 7-0 Blue Division) remained undefeated in conference play but ended up with two players fouled out and briefly almost in a literal fight to hold off Platte County.
“They compete,” Platte County coach Rick Hodge said of his players. “They show up, and they want to compete. And they don’t care who they’re playing, when they’re playing them or where they’re playing them.
“Yes, I like the fight in this team.”
Platte County dropped its third straight in Blue Division play, unable to overcome a 51-35 deficit entering the fourth quarter.
Kobe Cummings and Deiondre Ragsdale — a pair of junior guards — almost equally split 43 points and took on the scoring load in an effort to bring the Pirates back. Cummings, who finished with 21 points, scored a putback basket with 6 minutes, 23 seconds left to clip Grandview’s lead to 53-39.
Moments later, Cummings drew a foul, and as Grandview huddled in the lane prior to the free throws, Platte County junior forward John Watts joined the Bulldogs’ conversation.
Grandview’s Cortez Crook-Jones appeared to shove Watts in the face and drew a technical foul, which doubled as his fifth personal and fouled him out with just two points. The Bulldogs’ bench also picked up a technical while arguing the merits of the call.
Cummings hit both of his free throws, but Platte County senior guard Tanner Newberry went just 1-for-4 on the technical shots.
Newberry, who finished with 10 points, then knocked down a three on the resulting possession to pull the Pirates within 54-45 — their first time back within single digits since the first quarter. The free throw woes continued with Cummings repeatedly knifing to the basket in the remainder of regulation, and he missed two with a chance to cut the lead to seven shortly after Newberry’s clutch 3.
Platte County went 14-for-28 at the line overall — Cummings 9-for-13 — with nine of the misses in the fourth quarter.
“We fell behind early, and we buried ourselves too deep too early,” Hodge said. “But they just keep playing and keep battling. We got to the foul line, and if we’re going to pull the upset, we need to connect a little more on some of those.”
Platte County missed a bunch of shots early, but two of them helped the Pirates to an early lead.
Ragsdale’s first of six 3-pointers came after an offensive rebound on his miss from beyond the arc. Watts (six points) added a putback to put Grandview down 5-2 early. The deficit didn’t last long, and the Bulldogs closed the first quarter on a 12-0 run, which included a run-out dunk for Jordan Lathon that forced a timeout from Hodge with 1:50 left in the frame.
DeAndre Sorrell (21 points), Lathon (19 points), Mason Taylor (15 points) and Michael Nweke (10 points) all scored in double figures to help Grandview build its double-digit lead. The Bulldogs’ run hit 26-2 in the second quarter, and they led by as much as 22 in the first half.
“(Grandview) speeds you up,” Hodge said. “Yes, you are getting open looks, but they’re used to playing at that speed. When you take quick shots and don’t connect, they are off and running at the back end.”
Ragsdale hit two 3s in the second quarter and three more in the third quarter on his way to a game-high 22 points, which helped Platte County stay relatively close.
Cummings opened the third quarter with a 3-point play, which Sorrell answered with a 3-pointer. Cummings’ layup with 15.2 seconds left in the third quarter helped Platte County trim two points off an 18-point halftime deficit but left too much work to do in the fourth quarter.
Platte County dropped to 8-14 overall entering a road game with Kearney on Tuesday, Feb. 14.
The result was not available at The Citizen’s deadline.
Going into the Kearney rematch, Platte County was 1-6 in Blue Division play with the lone win against Winnetonka, which travels to the Pirates’ home floor on Friday, Feb. 17 for the return matchup.
Belton 59, Platte County 49
Up five at halftime, Platte County couldn’t hold the lead in a Blue Division loss Tuesday, Feb. 7 in Belton, Mo.
Belton put up 39 second-half points to overcome a 25-20 deficit at the break. Ragsdale ended up with 19 points, shooting 3-for-10 on 3-point attempts, but Platte County didn’t have another scorer in double figures.
Cummings was next with eight points, while Newberry and DeAndre Rollins (six points each) hit a pair of 3s apiece for Platte County. Watts had eight rebounds and three blocks.