KEARNEY, Mo. — It was all smiles for Platte County senior Rockey Chambers as she made her way to the Pirates bench for the final time.
Chamber who had just picked up her fifth foul on a charge call that negated a bucket — which would have cut the deficit to four points — late in the fourth quarter.
Instead of tears or anger at the 50-50 call, or the end of her Platte County career, Chambers did moved down the bench to high fives from her teammates.
“It was a jig,” Chambers said. “I was happy, that’s just me. I’m just a goofy kid. I’d rather foul out than not foul out. I’d rather of done something than not felt like I gave my all.”
Chambers was a key figure in Platte County’s fourth-quarter comeback that saw the team rally from down as many as 13 points to as close to four in the final minute.
In the end the deficit was too much in the Pirates’ 54-48 loss to Smithville in the semifinals of the Class 4 District 15 tournament at Kearney High School.
“I’m proud as hell,” Platte County coach Chris Stubbs said. “They could have quit in the third quarter and they just kept fighting. I was very proud of them, I have been all year.”
The Pirates fell behind from the onset allowing an 8-0 run to begin the game after missing several opportunities in the paint. Compounding the offensive woes was poor free-throw shooting, going 6-for-15 in the first three quarters before finding their shooting touch in the fourth quarter. In the final frame, the Pirates hit 9-of-13 freebies as tensions grew leading to a fan ejection and stern words from the officials.
“With all of their fans their and the energy, they wanted us to give up,” Chambers said. “I just wanted to make sure my team always had head high because in life, wins and losses, don’t matter. You have to keep your head up. I think we did a good job of keeping our head up and that’s how we got back into the game.”
Chambers finished with a game-high 19 points — all in the second half after picking up three fouls in the first and missing court time. Chambers was forced into a larger role in the fourth after point guard Jaycie Stubbs went down with an apparent ACL tear late in the third quarter.
“I thought we responded well when Jaycie tore her ACL or whatever she tore,” Chris Stubbs said of his daughter. “I thought the girls on the bench played well and Rockey stepped up in the fourth quarter, she’s a senior and did real well. Janessa Barmann hit some free throws there late. Great group of girls, I love them to death. The funnest year I’ve had coaching. (Even more than the 2008 state championship year.) Just because their personalities are wonderful. I just love them, they’re great kids. Athletics, most people get lost in wins and losses, at this point in my career, I have one more year left, I could care less about wins and losses. I just want them to have fun.”
Jaycie Stubbs kept Platte County in the game in the first quarter, stopping the initial run with a 3-pointer and tallying all six of her points in the opening stanza.
Hannah Valentine finished with 12 points after getting to the free-throw-line more in the final quarter.
Platte County 63, Northeast Kansas City 6
The Pirates pitched a second-half shutout in a win in the opening round of the Class 4 District 15 tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24.
Platte County had eight players crack the score column led by Hannah Valentine, who had 24 points. Jaycie Stubbs added 10 points.
The Pirates led 31-6 at the break and tacked on 20 points in the fourth to seal the blowout.
The team hit 24 of 55 two-point shots, but the percentage overall lagged due to hitting only 2 of 13 3-point attempts. The Pirates had 32 points off turnovers — which Northeast had 33.