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Dykstra makes go-ahead basket to give Platte-Geddes state berth

Platte-Geddes senior Kole Heller, right, brings the ball up the court as Gregory’s Sean Kafka, left, defends him during the Region 6B boys’ basketball game Tuesday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. (Brooke Cersosimo/Republic)

Platte-Geddes’ Carter Dykstra scored only two of his game-high 13 points in the second half, but it couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.

The Black Panthers came back to edge Gregory 38-37 Tuesday in the Region 6B game to advance to the Class B state tournament, which is March 20-22 in Aberdeen.

The Gorillas took their second lead of the contest with 15 seconds to play on two foul shots from Gavin Thomas after Gregory had forced a Black Panther turnover.

According to Dykstra, the last play was set up for him as the 6-foot-3 junior went the length of the court.

“I would have passed it off if I had to but I saw my chance and I took it,” Dykstra said.

For Platte-Geddes coach Frank Cutler on the final play, it was whoever got the ball had to make the play.

“If they were ahead, it’s whoever has the ball and can get the ball to the basket,” he said. “Carter got it to the basket and it rolled in. They didn’t have much time left and they were out of timeouts.”

Dykstra’s heroics saved the Black Panthers from a second-half collapse. Platte-Geddes led 26-15 at halftime and were in control, but Gregory came out in a pressing defense that seemed to take the Black Panthers out of their offense.

While the Gorilla’s mounted a third-quarter comeback, Platte-Geddes didn’t get their first point of the quarter until there was 38 seconds left on a free throw by Brady Peterson. A layup at the buzzer from Alex Gerlach gave the Black Panthers a 29-26 lead going into the final stanza.

“It was ugly shooting in the second half,” said Cutler. “We forced some things and we didn’t get to the basket and we settled for threes, and we didn’t make one. But let’s give them credit, and they are a very good team. They put pressure where it made it hard to get the ball down the floor.”

The Black Panthers jumped to a 32-28 lead with five minutes to play but a basket from Gregory’s Thomas gave the Gorillas a 33-32 advantage — their first of the game.

But four free throws from Coby Johnson, who recorded his 1,000th point in the contest, gave the Black Panthers a 36-33 lead, setting up the final moments.

The Black Panthers were also led by Kole Heller with 10 points and Johnson with 11 rebounds.

Platte-Geddes (17-6) was 14-of-43 for 33 percent from the floor and 10-of-16 for 63 percent from the line. The Black Panthers grabbed 24 rebounds and committed nine turnovers.

“Our kids played a gutsy second half and I couldn’t be more proud about how our kids played,” said Gregory coach Jeff Determan. “They erased the lead and then took the lead. But you have to give Platte-Geddes credit. (Dykstra) made a play at the end of the game.”

Thomas led the Gorillas with 12 points. Gregory (17-6) was 15-of-40 for 38 percent from the floor, 5-of-10 for 50 percent from the free-throw line and had 23 rebounds.

The Gorillas end their season 17-6.

G 6 15 26 37 PG 11 26 29 38