Breaking down the upset: A closer look at Platte-Geddes’ first-round victoryRAPID CITY — The Platte-Geddes Black Panthers stunned everyone watching the Class A state tournament with their defeat of No. 1 seed Clark/Willow Lake Thursday.
By: Aaron Saunders, The Daily Republic
RAPID CITY — The Platte-Geddes Black Panthers stunned everyone watching the Class A state tournament with their defeat of No. 1 seed Clark/Willow Lake Thursday.
Platte-Geddes got the victory with the help of three-point plays from Coby Johnson, diving hustle plays by Matthew Randall, who was falling over the floor for loose balls, and timely tear-drop buckets by Hunter Johnson.
“We expect that effort every night,” Platte-Geddes coach Frank Cutler said. “We have pretty athletic kids and if it’s a loose ball we get after it.”
The Black Panthers outrebounded Clark/Willow Lake 40-21 and shot better from the field. Platte-Geddes finished the game 27-of-51 while the Cyclones shot 20-of-53.
Like his team, Clark/Willow Lake guard Skylar Flatten struggled in the first half, missing all four of his shot attempts and scoring just one point.
Coming into the tournament, the SDSU commit was averaging 22.4 points per game. Flatten finished as the Cyclones’ leading scorer with 19 points, with the vast majority coming in the fourth quarter.
Despite his rough night from the field, Cutler had high praise for Flatten, saying that he is an outstanding player and hard to stop.
The Black Panthers double-teamed the 6-foot-5 Flatten whenever he got the ball on the blocks, but in open space slowing him down was primarily the responsibility of Richard Sternberg.
“I just tried to stay in front of him and make him shoot over top of me,” Sternberg said. “Everybody else helped out when we needed to and we doubled sometimes and forced some missed shots.”
In addition to solid defense, the Black Panthers rode a wave of confidence after forward Hunter Johnson hit a tear-drop jumper right before the end of the first half, giving Platte-Geddes a 21-19 lead.
The Black Panthers made it clear from the tip they were going to be a thorn in the Cyclones’ side for the entire game, holding a 9-7 lead at the end of the first period.
But Clark/Willow Lake made a run. The 9-0 spurt by the Cyclones gave the previously unbeaten team an 18-13 lead — and a boatload of momentum.
The Black Panthers answered with a 7-0 run of their own, highlighted by Johnson’s bucket, which seemed to take the wind out of Clark/Willow Lake’s sails.