North Platte St. Pat’s couldn’t do much against a stingy Hershey defense on Thursday night as the Panthers picked up a 43-29 win at the McGahan Activities Center.

“I thought our defense was exceptional,” Hershey coach Dustin Jorgenson said. “I was really proud of our kids’ defensive effort. When we buy into the defensive side, that translates into some buckets and good looks. I was proud of our defensive intensity.”

Hershey (14-6) took a 9-2 lead when Eli Huebner made a jump shot to follow a layup by Andrew Weitzel and a three-pointer by Austin Hoelscher.

Corby Condon finished the first quarter by scoring the last five points with a three and a basket, to bring St. Pat’s (9-13) within two.

But the Panthers remained in control and they led 18-11 at halftime after Weitzel hit a baseline jumper at the buzzer.

Hershey went to work after the break and they expanded the lead to 25-13 two minutes into the second as Nolan Benjamin nailed a three from the right arc.

The Panthers cruised after that as they got the lead to near 20 before both teams put in their reserves to finish the game.

Jorgenson said his team was more deliberate on offense and had better shot selection in the second half.

“I thought we did a better job of moving the ball,” he said. “When we get good ball movement and good ball reversals we get good shots.”

St. Pat’s coach Bill O’Malley said his team couldn’t play inside-out with the presence of 6’6″ Jacob Gosnell looming for Hershey.

“You got some size around the basket which makes it hard to get easy baskets and we needed to make some shots around the perimeter and we weren’t able to do that,” he said.

Next, Hershey will host Mullen (14-5) on Monday, while St. Pat’s will finish the regular season at Paxton (19-1) on Feb. 15.

Score by quarters:

Hershey: 9-9-15-10 – 43

St. Pat’s: 7-4-8-10 – 29

Hershey (43)-Andrew Weitzel 11, Nolan Benjamin 11, Eli Huebner 2, Austin Hoelscher 3, Jacob Gosnell 14, Thomas Gosnell 2

St. Pat’s (29)-Corby Condon 5, James Roberts 13, Nick Niesen 5, Charles Aufdenkamp 4, Alex Davies 2

Free throws: H 3-6, SP 6-14; Three point goals: H 4 (Benjamin 3, Hoelscher), SP 1 (Condon)