DEARBORN, Mo. — Things were looking pretty good for North Platte after a bucket by Corbin Green early in the first quarter.
Green’s bucket pulled the Panthers within a point of visiting East Buchanan, but that turned out to be the final bucket in quite a while. A big offensive surge by the Bulldogs set the table for a 62-40 victory to spoil courtwarming on Friday, Feb. 2 in a KCI Conference contest.
Green brought the Panthers within 6-5 with little more than 3 minutes to go in the quarter but the next time North Platte had the basketball go through the basket, there was a little more than 3 minutes to play in the second quarter.
During that span, East Buchanan used a 24-0 run to take command of the contest.
East Buchanan led 14-5 after the first quarter and the lead grew to 30-5 before the streak ended.
“They were running three different defenses,” North Platte coach Tim Sutton said. “It’s not football … you don’t get 30 seconds to get I figured out. They were prepared but we didn’t adjust to it, but is part of learning.
“They started popping between man and zone and we were struggling to adjust and run a good offense and get a high-quality shot. Not just a shot, but a high-quality shot. We have to learn to work together and define clearly what the best quality shot is for us.”
The Bulldogs (13-7, 3-1 KCI after the win) had five different players to score points during the run. The first quarter scoring ended on a two-handed dunk by Ethan Kilgore, who is bound to be a top collegiate recruit 2020.
During the 24-0 run, East Buchanan had only one 3-pointer, from Seth Kenagy to cap the run.
At the break, the Bulldogs led 37-14.
“I thought we played really good on defense,” East Buchanan coach Jered Curl said. “We’ve been better in the full-court trap and we just want to get a tip and our kids have bought in. We got a lot of steals and easy buckets.
“I thought on offense, we moved the ball really well and not playing selfish.”
The Panthers (5-14, 0-4 KCI) started to come back in the third quarter and at one point had outscored East Buchanan, 12-10.
Even with that increased offense, the Panthers still faced a 50-26 deficit going into the fourth.
The Panthers opened the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run with junior Chase Bridger starting the scoring and then Caine Huffman hit a 3-pointer and then added a layup.
After a pair of buckets by East Buchanan, Ty French scored two straight for the Panthers, hitting a 3 and adding a layup.
“When we get a came into a half-court game for both teams, we play pretty well with people,” said Sutton, whose team lost 55-21 to East Buchanan in the KCI Tournament earlier this season.
Kilgore scored a team-high 25 for the Bulldogs, included an alley-oop dunk on a pass from Kenagy — who had 13 points — in the third quarter.
French paced the Panthers with seven, though nine other players scored. Bart Owens and Hunter Hendricks had six each during the balanced attack.
Mound City 36, North Platte 25
North Platte led at the break, but was limited to only two points and no baskets the rest of the way in a loss to Mound City on Tuesday, Jan. 30, in Mound City.
Mound City led 13-9 after the first quarter, but Hunter Hendricks helped North Platte rally to take a 23-19 lead at the break.
Hendricks had six of the points in the second quarter and he would score the team’s only points with a pair of free throws in the fourth to give him 11 points.
Mound City had only six points in the third quarter to take a slim 25-23 lead.
Mound City pulled away for the win at the free-throw line, hitting 9 of 12 attempts in the fourth. Landon Poppa had five of those and finished with a game-high 12 points.
North Platte returned to action on Tuesday, Feb. 6, against West Platte in Weston, Mo. The results were not available by The Citizen deadline.
On Friday, Feb. 9, the Panthers will host Mid-Buchanan in a rematch of an opening-round KCI Tournament game that the Dragons won 63-37.
The Dragons are currently ranked No. 3 in the latest Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Class 2 poll.