KEARNEY, Mo. — Platte County seemed to be on cruise control moments into the second quarter of its contest with Excelsior Springs Monday night, Feb. 26.
A bucket by John Watts gave the Pirates a double-digit lead in the Class 4 District 15 contest at Kearney High School, but the foes rallied to make it close.
Then a 13-4 run pretty much put the game out of reach as the Pirates cruised to a 75-48 victory to earn a spot in the semifinals Thursday, March 1.
Platte County got 25 points from Deiondre Ragsdale, while Ethan Esdohr scored a career-high 19 that featured six 3-pointers.
The two came up big when the game got close in the second quarter.
Platte County (12-12) took a 21-11 lead on Watts’ basket 30 seconds into the second quarter, but powered by Dakota Allen and his sweet mullet, the Tigers pulled within 21-17 in a 30-second span.
After Platte County went up by five on a 3-pointer by Dawon Wood, Excelsior Springs (4-22) got a steal and score from Allen to make it 24-21 with 5 minutes to play in the first half.
Coach Rick Hodge called a timeout to regroup his bunch and it worked.
“We weren’t doing the things we wanted to do,” Hodge said. “We weren’t patient enough on offense. We were trying to score on first-side offense. They are pretty good when you are on your first side. We were trying to get ball reversals and trying to establish second and third side offense and we weren’t doing that. We reiterated the plan on offense and defense.”
Ragsdale hit a 3-pointer and Esdohr followed with back-to-back 3s to make it 33-21. Esdohr’s 3 late in the quarter gave the Pirates a 42-25 lead going into halftime.
“Drive and kick was there,” Esdohr said of his success from the corner of the court. “It was big, I felt we had to stop them and bear down on defense and then score.”
His six 3s in a contest matches a career high set in the JV level.
Lucas Stanley picked up the scoring for the Pirates in the third quarter early on with the first points for Platte County. The 6-foot-4 senior accounted for 13 points in the game, eight in the third quarter.
Lakol Miryal hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Platte County a 55-31 lead going into the final 8 minutes.
Baskets from Stanley, Esdohr and Ragsdale in succession gave Platte County at 62-36 lead with less than 5 minutes to play in the contest. From there, it turned into battle of free throws as both teams got a little foul happy late — especially with Excelsior Springs pressing on defense down by 20 points.
Platte County is now in the semifinals against St. Pius X, which has the best record in the district at 15-9 going into the 6:30 p.m. showdown.
The first game that night pits No. 1-seeded Kearney against Kansas City Northeast.
Raytown South 76, Platte County 49
The regular season for the Pirates came to a conclusion with a road loss on Wednesday, Feb. 21, in Raytown, Mo.
The two Suburban Conference Blue Division foes were actually in a competitive contest for half of the game, despite the final score. The Cardinals led 18-13 after the first quarter and after each team matched each other in the second quarter, Ray South led 34-29 at the break.
The Cardinals — a 15-point winner in Platte County on Feb. 2 — put the game away with a 24-point third quarter, while limiting Platte County to eight.
Ethan Esdohr, who hit three 3-point, led the Pirates with 13 points. Deiondre Ragsdale had 12 points – including two 3s – while Lucas Stanley had 10. John Watts led the team with nine rebounds.
The victory sealed a share of conference championship for the Cardinals with Grandview.
Platte County finished the regular season with an 11-12 record and 3-7 in league play.