Black Panthers fall to Tea Area in semifinals of Class A state tourneyRAPID CITY — Not much went right for the Platte-Geddes boys’ basketball team Friday night in the semifinals of the Class A state tournament.
By: Aaron Saunders, The Daily Republic
RAPID CITY — Not much went right for the Platte-Geddes boys’ basketball team Friday night in the semifinals of the Class A state tournament.
The Black Panthers shot 29 percent from the field and committed 29 turnovers en route to falling to Tea 65-33 at the Rushmore Civic Center in Rapid City. The loss ended their bid for a 2013 Class A state championship, sending the team to the third-place game today.
“We knew coming into the game we needed to be able to handle their pressure, but we didn’t do that,” Platte-Geddes coach Frank Cutler said. “If you have 29 turnovers, you can’t do that against an average team, let alone a great team like Tea, because it takes that many more scoring chances away from your team.”
After a relatively close first quarter that ended with Tea leading 14-10, Platte scored the next three baskets to take a 16-14 lead in the early stages of the second quarter. But Tea responded with a 16-0 run of its own, helping garner a 30-17 lead at halftime and ultimately allowing the Titans pull away for good.
Tea’s Connor Shaull scored eight points during the 16-point swing and finished the game with a game-high 20 points.
“I am very proud of our guys,” said Tea coach Chris Fechner, whose team had 15 assists, led by Chase Deckert’s eight. “I thought they were really locked in this morning when we had our shoot around.
“We want to get out, guard you and make life really difficult. … Once we got into a little bit of a flow, then things really started to click for us. I thought our guys did a really good job of not getting too high or too low.”
With the help of Shaull’s inside presence, the Titans controlled the blocks in the first half and recorded 20 points in the paint.
While the Tea offense was scoring, the Titan defense was shutting down Platte-Geddes’ offense. Tea recorded 11 steals in the first half and forced the Black Panthers to commit 20 first half turnovers. Tea scored 30 points off turnovers in the win.
The Tea defense also managed to keep Platte-Geddes’ leading scorer, Coby Johnson, at bay. Johnson, who scored 24 points Thursday when the Black Panthers defeated No. 1 seed Clark/Willow Lake, was held to a team-high eight points and finished with 13 rebounds and three assists.
Every time the sophomore touched the ball down low, a swarm of Titan defenders crashed down on him to either alter or block his close-range attempts.
“I thought they swarmed all of us,” Cutler said. “It seemed like we couldn’t get anything going for anybody, whether it was Coby or any of our perimeter guys. … They have outstanding athletes and they used it to the hills.”
Platte-Geddes was 13-of-44 from the field and 5-of-16 from the free-throw line.
With the loss, the Black Panthers are 17-8 and play in the third-place game at 7 p.m. Central time at the Rushmore Civic Center in Rapid City.