KEARNEY – The Kearney Boys Hoops preached the necessity for a lockdown protection as they confronted the Platte County No.1 seed within the District Finals on Thursday March 4 at Platte County Excessive College .
The Bulldogs delivered an explosive Pirates offense to their lowest scoring of the season in a 54-50 win to safe the Missouri Class 5 District 16 championship.
Kearney first-year head coach Dillon Starzl exploded with pleasure when the final buzzer went off within the recreation.
“It was a lot enjoyable, I could not be happier,” stated Starzl, who gained a state championship as a Bulldogs participant in 2010. “I really like these guys and I really like this group. My assistant coaches are superior and I could not do that with out them.
The sport started whilst Platte County held a 12-11 first quarter lead. The Bulldogs began to get forward by reaching the road and making free throws to go up 14-12, however acquired scared when Brennan Watkins crashed into the sphere in an tried layup and left the fitness center with the assistance of sports activities coaches.
Kearney nonetheless added 2 factors to the lead in his absence as Watkins returned with 5 minutes left within the half. He put the ending touches on a 10-0 run when he hit a 3-pointer to return again 21-12.
Watkins stated it was a groin harm that acquired him out of the sport. He had the same second within the district semifinal in opposition to Lafayette the place Watkins got here in hampered late within the recreation earlier than transferring on to shoot his free throws and assist shut that recreation.
Regardless of these moments, Watkins refuses to vary his fashion of play which prompts him to hunt contact as a lot as he seeks an area to shoot.
“I need to be with my group each recreation and I simply need to win,” Watkins stated. “I’ll do no matter it takes to make it occur.”
Joey Schultz of Platte County ended the Pirates’ drought by scoring on a drive to the basket earlier than he and Watkins traded 3 factors because the Bulldogs took a 24-17 lead within the locker room.
The Pirates began off a bit to start out the third quarter, however Kearney prolonged the result in 32-22 simply minutes from the break.
Kearney’s senior ahead Drew Gentry made some massive performs on the defensive finish of the sphere, however he actually stood out with just a few athletic makes an attempt across the bucket on offense. Gentry went for 2 pullback dunks within the center quarters. He landed exhausting on his facet after making an attempt the second on his personal missed free throw.
Watkins has stated he appreciates Gentry’s sacrifices for the group.
“I really like the best way he is taking part in on the pitch for us,” Watkins stated. “He is somewhat reckless along with his physique, however he does not care. He does no matter it takes to win.
With Gentry down, Schultz noticed the scenario 5 on 4 and attacked shortly. He pulled off a clean spinning movement to chop by means of Kearney’s defenders, however senior ahead Ashton Holloway timed his soar completely to crush the ball and seize the rebound.
Now was time for Holloway because the group’s recreation plan to restrict Platte County’s photographs left him extra stress to gradual Schultz down. Holloway gave Schultz credit score for being a participant who can transfer shortly whereas nonetheless with the ability to put the ball on the bottom to get to the basket.
“He can shoot too,” Holloway stated. “It is exhausting to play in opposition to that, however I respect his recreation. I’ve to present it to him, he has buckets on me, however the finish result’s what we wished.
Earlier than Kearney may full the possession gained by Holloway, Platte County’s Jaden Burnett was known as up for a method and Watkins went to the road to shoot two free throws. He did each to place the Bulldogs in a 37-22 lead with two minutes left within the third quarter they usually prolonged the result in 40-26 going into the fourth.
The Bulldogs held Platte County at double-digit distance for a lot of the final body, retaining a 49-38 benefit with simply two minutes remaining.
Starzl stated principal goalie Tyler Carr’s play on Jarrett Mueller was key to limiting the Pirates’ 3-point rating.
“Carr was so good on Mueller,” Starzl stated. “That is what he does, he takes on this position and he needs to remove the most effective participant on the opposite group.”
He nearly made it by means of all 4 quarters, however Mueller and the Pirates weren’t fairly able to stop. Platte County made a collection of baskets in fast succession whereas Kearney missed a bunch of free throws on the stretch.
Mueller, who had a sizzling fourth quarter to shut the district semifinal recreation in opposition to Smithville, continued to be engaged scoring 5 factors in six seconds to convey his group right down to lower than 4 factors with simply 40 seconds to go. .
“We knew it was going to occur sooner or later,” Carr stated. “They did not shoot very effectively and it is an excellent taking pictures group. … (Mueller) is an excellent participant and it’s tough to maintain participant all through the sport.
He even caught a foul from Carr on 3 factors, however Mueller ended up lacking two of his three makes an attempt.
Burnett gave the Pirates yet another likelihood by forcing a soar ball with a tie on Watkins, however Kearney acquired the rebound on a 3-point missed pointer from Alex McClure to place the sport apart.
“We performed an ideal three quarters tonight, however this fourth quarter we fell aside,” Carr stated. “That is the most effective half, now we have much more room for enchancment. I feel we’ll hold working to place collectively these 4 quarterback video games and we’ll hold taking part in the lockdown protection.
Carr completed with 14 factors to be named to the Complete District squad with Watkins and Holloway. Watkins additionally gained District Participant of the 12 months honors. He completed the district ultimate with 25 factors, sufficient to convey it to the 1,500 level mark as he continues to construct on the report for many factors in Kearney’s program historical past.
“He was the chief of this group,” Starzl stated. “He fights in opposition to issues, however retains a constructive perspective and solely actually ends the video games for us.”
Kearney (13-8) will face Mexico (21-3) at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 9 within the nationwide sections of Kearney Excessive College.