Platte County girls beat Liberty North

KANSAS CITY, Mo. ­— On a night when the breaks seemed to go against Platte County and coach Chris Stubbs, the Pirates got the final break in the opening round of the Oak Park Invitational on Monday, Jan. 16 at Oak Park High School.

After taking the lead with 12 seconds to play the Pirates survived a drive down the lane to see the resulting layup circumnavigate the rim before falling into the hands of junior Jaycie Stubbs who held on to the ball as the buzzer sounded for a 45-44 win against Liberty North.

Overall the lead changed three times in the final minute of the contest with the Pirates surviving a near fourth. The Pirates led by as many as 10 points in the game and Liberty North widdled the advantage down using a 2-2-1 full court press in the third quarter which led to numerous turnovers. Platte County still held a 35-32 lead entering the final quarter only to see the Eagles continue the successful press defense to take their first lead since leading 14-10 to start the second quarter.

 BRYCE MERENESS/Citizen photo Hannah Valentine, center, drives the lane for the winning layup in Platte County’s 45-44 win against Liberty North in the first round of the Oak Park Invitational on Monday, Jan. 15.

BRYCE MERENESS/Citizen photo
Hannah Valentine, center, drives the lane for the winning layup in Platte County’s 45-44 win against Liberty North in the first round of the Oak Park Invitational on Monday, Jan. 15.

“We had too many turnovers,” Chris Stubbs said. “Especially in the fourth quarter. That has been the quarter we’ve shut other teams down. But we turned it over too many times. They had a nice 2-2-1 press which we struggled to break.”

After a slow start the Pirates opened the second quarter on a 14-0 run and looked to take control of the game, leading 28-18 at the half. The Pirates run lasted over six minutes until a fluke play gave the Eagles their first points of the second quarter after a lucky bounce.

“That’s how we’ve been playing,” Stubbs said. “I think if we would have continued that into the third, but I think the girls and myself allowed outside factors to get us distracted. It took away from our defense. It felt like every time we touched them we fouled them but then we went to the other end and never got any calls.”

Junior Hannah Valentine first hit a layup on a drive with 40.2 seconds to play to give the Pirates back the lead after allowing the Eagles to pressure their way into the lead. Platte County trailed 42-39 with two minutes to play before forcing three straight turnovers to take a 43-42 lead in the final minute.

Valentine finished with a game-high 17 points, while Jaycie Stubbs scored eight but had a 3-pointer taken off the board shortly after halftime after a loose ball rolled onto the court during her shot. Her second attempt on the Pirates inbounds play drew iron and set the tone for a frustrating second half.

“It was a weird play to start the third,” Chris Stubbs said. “We hit the 3 but it was a dead ball. That was a big momentum shift I just felt like we got out of our rhythm. We didn’t get to the free throw line there were a lot of non calls. I’m proud of the girls for fighting.”