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Consolation trophy
won by Lady Pirates

by Ted Brewer
Landmark reporter

The Lady Pirate basketball team was able to bring home the consolation trophy from the 35th annual Kearney Tournament.

The Lady Pirates suffered a tough break in the first round of the tournament, when they had to face the second seeded Ray-Pec Panthers. The Panthers took an early 11-8 lead and the Panthers were able to increase their lead by outscoring the Lady Pirates 17-7 in the second quarter.

The Lady Pirates made some defensive adjustments during halftime to try to stop the Panther players who had been hurting the Lady Pirates the most. The adjustments only allowed the Panthers to outscore the Lady Pirates by one total point in the entire second half, but the Panthers had a big lead entering the second half and won the game by a final score of 50-36.

Senior Megan Nichols and sophomore Amanda Praiswater led the team with eight points apiece. Nichols had 10 rebounds and Praiswater added eight of her own.

“Our second half was a great effort and we are continuing to improve as a young team,” said head coach Kathy Hatfield.

In the second round of the tournament, the Lady Pirates faced the Chillicothe Hornets. Less than a week earlier the Lady Pirates had lost to the Hornets in conference action, but that would not be the case in this game, as the Lady Pirates won this low scoring bout by a final score of 34-29.

“We still are struggling with a good shooting percent, but Chillicothe was also having a bad shooting night,” Hatfield said. “We forced some turnovers and hit some free throws down the stretch to assure us the win.”

Junior Tara Porter led with eight points, followed by freshman Kathryn McGee who had seven points.

Praiswater led the team with 11 rebounds, followed by Nichols with 9.

In the third game of the tournament, the Lady Pirates took an early 11-4 lead over the Benton Cardinals. This lead was short lived as Benton rallied to a 15-11 lead after taking advantage of some costly turnovers by the Lady Pirates.

The Lady Pirates led after the first quarter by a score of 11-7, only to fall behind 34-27 at halftime.

In the second half, the Lady Pirates were able to shut down Benton’s inside game, forcing them to rely on their shooters from the outside. Porter helped to spark this advantage for the Pirates by keeping control of the ball while playing point guard, driving the lane for baskets, and shooting 9 of 13 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to cut Benton’s momentum.

McGee assured a Lady Pirate victory when she went to the line with 3.6 seconds remaining, and was able to extend the Platte County lead to four points. Benton was able to make a desperation buzzer-beater from behind half court, but it was not enough as the Lady Pirates defeated Benton 48-47.

“It was a good win for us especially after losing our first MEC Conference game to Chillicothe two weeks earlier,” said Hatfield. “It was nice to get the lead with just a few minutes left so we could control points.”

Porter led all scorers with 18 points, followed by Nichols with 7 points. Porter hit 12 of 15 free throws for 80 percent from behind the line throughout the night. Nichols was able to pull down 12 rebounds. Freshmen Ashley West and Jessica Praiswater had a big night off the bench for the Lady Pirates.

The Lady Pirates improved their overall record to 7-7 and 0-1 in the MEC.

The Platte County Lady Pirates will next play on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 4:30 p.m. This action comes in the Smithville Girls Invitational Tournament. The sixth-seeded Platte County will play the third seeded Lafayette in their first game, and will then play either Kearney or Pleasant Hill on Thursday, Jan. 24, at 7 p.m. if the Lady Pirates win, or on Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 5:30 p.m. if they lose.