Black Panthers top MCM 51-47 in Region 5AHARTFORD — After getting outplayed by McCook Central/Montrose earlier this season at the Hanson Classic, the Platte-Geddes boys’ basketball team wanted its revenge.
By: Brooke Cersosimo, The Daily Republic
HARTFORD — After getting outplayed by McCook Central/Montrose earlier this season at the Hanson Classic, the Platte-Geddes boys’ basketball team wanted its revenge.
The Black Panthers fended off a Fighting Cougar fourth-quarter comeback to claim the Region 5A championship 51-47 Tuesday.
With the win, Platte-Geddes earned a berth to the Class A state tournament, which is March 14-16 at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City.
“That’s just great satisfaction to take a group that’s worked hard and give ourselves an opportunity like this,” Platte-Geddes coach Frank Cutler said. “What a fun deal. We just did enough to give ourselves the win.”
McCook Central/Montrose was down by 10 — Platte-Geddes’ largest lead of the game — with 51 seconds to play after four straight free throws.
The Fighting Cougars’ defensive effort, along with a pair of threes by senior Brandon Reif, brought them within two with 14 seconds left in the game. After an inbound pass, McCook Central/Montrose was unable to foul and Platte-Geddes’ quick passes allowed junior Kole Heller to give the Black Panthers a 51-47 lead with 7 seconds to play.
The basket secured Platte-Geddes’ return to the state tournament for the first time since 2009.
“We didn’t quit. I’m just really proud of their effort all year and the success of the year, and it’s disappointing to end on what we don’t think is our best performance,” said McCook Central/Montrose coach Bill Marquardt, who coached his final basketball game Tuesday night, announcing his retirement. “Platte-Geddes is well-coached and plays hard and tonight they did well.”
Platte-Geddes took the early lead after trailing 4-3 — McCook Central/Montrose’s only lead of the game. The Black Panthers, who shot 19-of-42 for 45 percent from the field, went on a 12-2 run to end the first quarter.
In the second, the Fighting Cougars fought back to come within 22-18 at the half on a 3-pointer by senior Zach Bies and a score by senior Billy Kapperman.
“That early momentum was very important,” Platte-Geddes senior Hunter Johnson, whose team won the rebounding battle 22-18. “We’ve done that every game since districts started and that’s just the way we need to keep playing.”
But Platte-Geddes’ early lead was too much for McCook Central/Montrose to come back from.
Platte-Geddes was led by sophomore Coby Johnson with a game-high 15 points. Senior Tate Van Zee had 10 points and three steals and Hunter Johnson tallied 11 points, a team-high six rebounds and six assists.
The Fighting Cougars, who were 18-of-57 for 32 percent from the field, were led by Kapperman with 13 points and senior Will Gottlob and Reif scored 10 apiece. Gottlob grabbed a team-best five rebounds and senior Jacob Heumiller recorded seven assists and three steals in the loss.
McCook Central/Montrose ended its season with a 17-6 record.
PG 15 22 32 51
MCM 6 18 27 47