Platte County coach Chris Stubbs saw his team in exactly the spot he expected.
While the Pirates didn’t come away with the Winnetonka Invitational title, they were in the final and held an early lead on Truman in the Friday, Dec. 1 championship game in Kansas City, Mo. The Patriots pulled away late for a 52-45 win to take the Gold Division crown.
Platte County still saw the benefits of a 3-0 start and run to a title game.
“We’re not young. We are experienced. This is where we should be,” Stubbs said.
The balance Platte County showed in the first round and semifinal victories disappeared in the finals.
Hannah Valentine, a junior, continued to lead the way in scoring with 18 points and a pair of 3-pointers, while junior guard Jaycie Stubbs added 13 points and three 3-pointers for the Pirates. The duo combined to shoot 12 of 18 from the floor and 5 of 7 on 3s, while the rest of the lineup went 5 of 36 on field goals.
Despite the struggles, Platte County stayed around until late until missed shots and the last of 18 total turnovers kept the Pirates from making a comeback.
“We need not just four, five girls. We need to have eight, nine girls,” Chris Stubbs said.
Platte County led for much of the first quarter then rallied with a run to close the second quarter, going into halftime down 29-28. The Pirates didn’t lead again and settled for third.
In a 58-51 semifinal win over Oak Park, Platte County forged a late comeback to prevail in a back-and-forth fourth quarter.
A lengthy scoring drought allowed Oak Park to whittle away at an eight-point deficit. The Lady Oakies ended up with an 11-0 run behind the scoring of sophomore Paige Allen, who put up 10 of her game-high 22 in the third quarter.
Platte County went into the fourth quarter trailing 40-37.
Jaycie Stubbs split a pair of free throws to end Oak Park’s run, and Valentine hit a 3 from the top of the key with 6:56 left in regulation for the Pirates’ first field goal in more than 5 minutes. They went back in front at 41-40, and neither team led by more than one possession until the final seconds.
“I honestly wasn’t really thinking about it in the moment of the game,” said Valentine, who finished with a game-high 20 points. “I was just glad that I hit it, and we got the momentum going after that.”
A transition layup for Janessa Barmann gave Platte County a 51-48 lead with 1:01 left, and Allen’s 3-point attempt at the other end dangerously rolled around the inside of the rim before lipping out. The Pirates made 7 of 8 free throws in the final seconds, including 4 of 4 for Valentine.
Jaycie Stubbs added 15 points, and Chambers had nine to run Platte County’s win streak to three opening the season.
“Getting to the championship game down here and beating a quality opponent like Oak Park with quite possibly one of the best players in the Kansas City area, that was a quality win for us,” Stubbs said. “Getting three wins out of the first three was excellent.”
Platte County committed 23 turnovers and experienced foul trouble. After taking a quick 4-0 lead, Oak Park called a timeout and settled into a slugfest that featured 11 combined fouls in the first 8 minutes.
Chambers led Platte County’s offense early with six points in the first quarter, but she ended up on the bench in the second quarter along with senior forward Lauren Walker — both with three fouls. Jaycie Stubbs scored nine in the second quarter, including 3s on back-to-back possessions to first tie the score 20-20 and then put the Pirates ahead 23-21.
A late putback basket for junior reserve forward Shayla Kohler and Valentine put Platte County ahead 29-25 at the break, and despite going up eight twice in the third quarter, the Pirates ended up fighting out the result.
“We’ve been preaching process, trust the process,” Stubbs said. “We still had some turnovers, but they were on passes and executions where we were trying to do the right thing. We just still turned it over. That’s fine. We’ll clean that up.”
Platte County 64, Pembroke Hill 28
The Pirates allowed just eight points in the second half of an easy first round victory Tuesday, Nov. 28 at Winnetonka High School.
Valentine scored 12, while Kohler added 12 off the bench in a balanced showing for Platte County, which led 32-20 at halftime. The Pirates pulled away with 20 points in the third quarter, allowing Chris Stubbs to use his full allotment of reserves.
Jaycie Stubbs and Chambers had six assists each, while Valentine (nine rebounds) and Kohler (seven rebounds) just missed double-doubles.