by Michael Smith
The Grain Valley boys basketball team had a chance to pull off an upset.
The Eagles were the No. 5 seed and took on No. 1 seed Platte County in the semifinals of the Grain Valley Sonic Showdown Thursday at home.
They were tied at 46-all with the Pirates and had the ball with 11.7 seconds left. After a couple of passes, junior Keegan Hart drove baseline and tried to get a bounce pass to junior Jake Richards, but the pass went out of bounds with 1.6 seconds left as the game went to overtime.
Platte County put it away early in the extra session with an 11-0 run and Grain Valley missed its first six shots in the final 4 minutes in a 59-52 loss.
“I am proud of the guys,” Grain Valley head boys basketball coach Andy Herbert said. “They put themselves in position to beat a really good team. That’s why (the Pirates) are a really good team. They know how to win games.
“We tried to get (Hart) in isolation because he did such a good job attacking the basket. We wanted to make them have to help from the corner or the weak side block. We didn’t quite get it executed.”
After the Pirates led for most of the game, although mostly by a small margin, Grain Valley’s offense got going in the final period and it took the lead late. A pair of free throws by Richards tied the game at 40 apiece. After a couple of empty possessions for the Pirates, junior Owen Herbert received a pass from Nick Hooper and buried a 3-pointer from the left wing to put the Eagles ahead 43-40.
Platte County senior guard Jarrett Mueller, as he did all night, answered on the next possession. Judah Vignary missed a three, but an offensive rebound by the Pirates led to a wide open Mueller sinking a three from the corner to tie it.
After Hart made two free throws to make it 45-43, once again, Mueller buried a three to give the Pirates a 46-45 edge with 2:30 remaining. Hart made 1 of 2 free throws with 43.4 seconds left to help send it to overtime.
Platte County gained possession on the overtime tip-off and Grain Valley left Mueller, who had a game-high 23 points, open in the corner again for a 3-pointer that started the 11-0 run that put the game out of reach.
“We just had a miscommunication of who covers what,” Andy Herbert said. “Mueller is a really good player. They are all good players for Platte County. He got free a couple of times and that hurt.”
The Eagles didn’t score their first basket in overtime until there was 49 seconds left when Reece Troyer hit a three. By then, the Eagles had too big of a hole to dig out of.
Grain Valley led 13-10 after the first period, but the Pirates rebounded to take a 24-22 lead into halftime and led 37-32 going in the third.
Andy Hebert was pleased with his team’s balanced scoring attack, however. Junior forward Rhylan Alcanter led his team with 13 points, Owen Herbert and Hart added 11 and Hooper chipped in with eight.
“Rhylan is doing a great job inside,” Andy Herbert said. “And when the opposing defense helps on him, we have some guys who can hit shots on the outside.”
Grain Valley junior Rhylan Alcanter prepares to shoot a free throw during a 59-52 overtime loss to Platte County. He had a team-high 13 points. Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain senior Cylas Brewer dribbles the basketball at the top of the key. Photo credit: Michael Smith
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