Ragsdale, Watts help Platte County boys open Sonic Showdown with win

In a second tournament in three weeks, Platte County again started strong in the Sonic Showdown.

NICK INGRAM/Citizen photo Platte County junior guard Deiondre Ragsdale (15) hangs in the air for a shot against Benton on Friday, Jan. 20 in St. Joseph, Mo.

NICK INGRAM/Citizen photo
Platte County junior guard Deiondre Ragsdale (15) hangs in the air for a shot against Benton on Friday, Jan. 20 in St. Joseph, Mo.

A suffocating defense held Marshall to just five points in the third quarter and the scoring punch of junior guard Deiondre Ragsdale and junior forward John  Watts led the way in a 75-63 victory Tuesday, Jan. 23 in Grain Valley, Mo. The Pirates are playing in the Sonic Showdown for the first time after dropping the Basehor-Linwood Invitational.

Ragsdale hit five 3-pointers and scored a game- and career-high 31 points for Platte County, which came in having lost three straight. Watts added 23 points, while junior guard Kobe Cummings chipped in 10.

Platte County led by just three at halftime but outscored the Owls 20-5 in the third quarter to pull away.

Two weeks ago in Kearney’s Bulldog Classic, Platte County advanced to the title game before losing there and then dropping a pair in regular season play last week. The Pirates will be in a first-round pool and play their other game Thursday, Jan. 26 against second-seeded Staley.

A win would send Platte County to the title game against the semifinal winner. Other scenarios could have the Pirates in either the third- or fifth-place game.

OTHER GAMES

Benton 62, Platte County 53

The Pirates hung close early but suffered their third straight loss Friday, Jan. 20, unable to keep pace with Benton’s high-scoring offense.

Ragsdale again led the offense with 24 points, but Benton used a strong second quarter to force Platte County to make adjustments. The Pirates tried to push the tempo but ultimately didn’t do enough on the defensive end.

“They got separation in the second quarter and that’s where we fell behind and that’s where we had to pick up the pace, pick up tempo,” Platte County head coach Rick Hodge said. “It kept it close but there are some different areas that we have to improve on, especially on the defensive end. We can’t give up that many points.”

The offense struggled behind Ragsdale despite the return of guard Tanner Newberry to the lineup. He scored seven for Platte County, and Cummings matched him with seven points.
Ragsdale hit four 3-pointers to help keep the score close.

“During the first half, we were doing good but coming in the second half we just fell into a slump,” said Watts, limited to just three points. 

Platte County’s pressure defense again worked in spurts, forcing Benton into turnovers.

However, the Cardinals’ duo of Saxton Thuston and Terrence Clark combined for 45 points. The Pirates, now 6-10 on the season, have won just once this year when allowing more than 54 points. In the two wins in the Bulldog Classic, they gave up under 40.

“We got some steals and we got them to turn it over a little bit but then the next possession you’re giving up the layup at the back end,” Hodge said. “You can’t trade buckets doing that. You have to be able to make more stops or more steals when you can.”

Belton 68, Platte County 60

Down big in the fourth quarter again, Platte County again pushed the tempo in an effort to score a Suburban Conference Blue Division loss Tuesday, Jan. 17.

Both teams scored 28 points in the fourth quarter, but Platte County’s comeback attempt fell short for a second straight night. Platte County lost in similar fashion the night before in the championship of the Bulldog Classic against Kearney.

Platte County sits at 0-3 in Blue Division play.

Ragsdale and Watts continued their strong play, combining for 42 points. Ragsdale had a team-high 23 points with four 3s, while Cummings hit one 3 and had 12. Platte County’s high scoring trio combined for all but six points.