Platte-Geddes shocks top-seeded Clark/Willow Lake at Class A tourneyRAPID CITY — Frank Cutler breathed a sigh of relief as he exited the Platte-Geddes locker room Thursday.
By: Aaron Saunders, The Daily Republic
RAPID CITY — Frank Cutler breathed a sigh of relief as he exited the Platte-Geddes locker room Thursday.
His team, coming into the Class A state boys’ basketball tournament a heavy underdog to top-seeded Clark/Willow Lake, pulled off a huge upset in the first round. The eighth-seeded Black Panthers prevailed and stunned the previously unbeaten Cyclones 66-51 at the Rushmore Civic Center in Rapid City.
Coby Johnson led the Black Panthers (17-7) with 24 points and 17 rebounds, doing the majority of his damage in the paint. Platte-Geddes hit 52 percent of its shots from the field and outrebounded the Cyclones 40-21.
“We played really well at the end of the year, and thankfully it carried over,” Cutler said. “I thought we did a great job on the boards. … Later in the game, when they were starting to press us, we got a lot of easy looks, because we were able to attack the basket.”
Clinging to a five-point lead with 6:16 to play, Cutler noticed his team couldn’t get a good look offensively, so he called a timeout.
The result of the timeout was a 13-2 run, which gave the Black Panthers a 54-38 lead with 3:30 left in the game, essentially sealing Platte-Geddes’ place in the Class A semifinals.
“Coach told us to relax,” Johnson said. “We just had to slow it down, and we knew if we could get back to playing our game, we could win the game. … It seemed like when we were hot, we couldn’t miss and everything was going in.”
The Black Panther defense held Clark/Willow Lake to 19 points in the first half and nearly kept SDSU commit Skyler Flatten scoreless in the first half. C/WL was 20-of-53 from the field and committed six turnovers.
The Cyclone guard scored his only points of the first half with 24 seconds to go on a free throw. Late in the second quarter, Flatten knocked down the free throw, his only first-half point, to give CWL a one-point lead at 19-18.
But Platte-Geddes forward Hunter Johnson hit a short jump shot with 3 seconds to go in the half, giving the Black Panthers a 21-19 lead heading into the break. The senior forward finished the game with nine points.
Meanwhile, Flatten rebounded in the second half to finish with a team-high 19 points. But Platte-Geddes was able to respond with the key late run.
Platte-Geddes’ seven losses are the second most of any team in the tournament. Pine Ridge was 14-8 heading into the tournament. The Black Panthers accrued the vast majority of their losses during a span in which they lost six of eight games, including four straight.
Since that time, Platte-Geddes has won 10 of its last 11 games, including a four-point win over McCook/Central Montrose in the Region 5A final.
“We kind of embraced our situation,” Cutler said. “When the region tournaments were going on, we knew we were going to be the eighth seed and play a top dog.”
With their upset victory the Black Panthers advance to face Tea Area today in the Class A semifinals at the Rushmore Civic Center in Rapid City.
CLARK/WILLOW LAKE 51
PG (17-7) Coby Johnson 9-14 6-6 24, Matthew Randall 4-6 2-2 13, Kole Heller 2-4 0-0 4, Tate Van Zee 3-5 0-0 8, Richard Sternberg 4-9 1-3 9, Hunter Johnson 4-8 1-3 9. Totals: 27-51 10-14 66.
CWL (21-1) Skyler Flatten 7-22 4-7 19, Mitch Prouty 4-7 0-0 10, Tyson Jenkins 4-10 1-2 9, Lane Hovde 3-5 0-0 8, Torrey Kolden 2-6 1-2 5, Rhett Florey 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 20-53 6-11 51.
PG 9 21 41 66
CWL 7 19 34 51
3-pointers: PG 2 ( Van Zee, Randall) CWL 5 (Prouty 2, Hovde 2, Flatten 1); Rebounds: PG 40 (Coby Johnson 17) CWL 21; Assists: PG 12 (Sternberg 4), CWL 8; Steals: PG 4 ( Sternberg 2), CWL 4; Turnovers: PG 10, CWL 6.