Nealie Niemeier did all she could to extend her career in the opening round of the Class 2 District 15 tournament.
West Platte’s senior leading scorer tallied a game-high 27 points against Northland Christian on Monday, Feb. 20 in Lone Jack, Mo., but the Trailblazers did enough scoring to take a 58-55 victory. The Bluejays upped their win total this season behind Niemeier’s solid play, finishing at 10-14 overall.
Northland Christian won two of three matchups between the two teams this season.
Seeded sixth, West Platte trailed at halftime in a back-and-forth matchup but couldn’t pull out the win despite seven total 3-pointers. Niemeier hit a pair, while sophomore Lea Moose drained four to account for all 12 of her points.
Only four players scored for West Platte with freshman Faith Stevens also finishing in double figures with 10, while senior Alexa Raney added six. Alex LaRoe was the only other senior on the roster for the Bluejays this season.
West Platte lost its final two games after dropping a nonconference regular season finale against University Academy last week. Stats were unavailable from the game.
Santa Fe 55, North Platte 31
The Chiefs won a rematch of a Class 2 playoff game from a year ago, pulling away in the second half Monday, Feb. 20 in Lone Jack, Mo. behind Sadie Limback.
After being held to just five points in the first half, Limback scored 23 of Santa Fe’s 29 points on her way to a game-high 28 points total. North Platte trailed just 26-20 at halftime, keeping close on junior guard Alley Rickel’s two 3-pointers — her only points in the game.
No. 1-seeded Santa Fe limited North Platte to just 11 points total in the second half.
Gracie Roach, a junior guard, scored eight points, while sophomore Gracie Rice was held to just seven after averaging 13 points per game in the previous five games for the Panthers, who were the No. 8 seed. They finished at 3-20 overall.
North Platte made the playoffs in seven of the previous eight seasons, including last year’s miraculous run to a district title. The Panthers lost all five starters and seven seniors total and struggled to rebuild despite a 2-0 start to the season.
In the end, North Platte lost 20 of the next 21, including 16 straight to close the season. The Panthers’ lone senior was Abby Fisher, but they return all five starters.
West Platte 56, Hamilton 44
The Bluejays closed the KCI Conference season with a victory behind a trio of double-digit scorers Tuesday, Feb. 14 in Weston, Mo.
Stevens led the way with 15 points, while sophomore Hannah McGivern put up 13 of her 14 points in the second half for West Platte, which trailed trailed 28-22 at halftime. The Bluejays scored 23 points in the fourth quarter to complete the comeback.
Stevens, McGivern and Niemeier combined for 17 of those points. Niemeier totaled 12 points, while Moose had nine for West Platte.
Hamilton won the first matchup between the two teams, 53-38, in the semifinals of the Lawson Invitational last month. West Platte ended up with a 2-5 record in KCI play with the win, ending a four-game losing skid in conference.
West Platte 53, Northland Christian 44
The Bluejays won the district preview matchup Wednesday, Feb. 15 in Weston, Mo.
Niemeier scored 18 points, and McGivern added 14, including six free throws in the fourth quarter to help seal the victory for West Platte. McGivern also had two of the Bluejays’ six 3-pointers.
Mid-Buchanan 77, North Platte 39
Down just two early in the third quarter, the Panthers ended up in a blowout after Roach tweaked her knee in the second half of a KCI matchup Tuesday, Feb. 14 in Faucett, Mo.
North Platte scored the first seven points out of halftime to close within 30-28 but managed just nine points the rest of the way. Mid-Buchanan scored 33 points in the third quarter with a combined seven 3s for Bailey Gilbert and Gracie Livengood and 10 points for Jill Rumpf in the frame.
Rice put up 18 points for North Platte, which scored just three points in the fourth quarter. She had six in each of the first three quarters, while Janell Manville and Rickel added seven points apiece.
North Platte went 0-7 in KCI play.