North Platte Community College women’s basketball looked to keep their winning streak alive against No. 1 Johnson County Community College on Wednesday afternoon. The Knights matched the Cavaliers intensity to start the game, but some strong defense in the third quarter helped Johnson County remain perfect on the season, 69-44.

“Give all the credit to Johnson County,” NPCC head coach Jeff Thurman said. “They took us out of what we wanted to do offensively, but I am proud of how we fought against a very talented team.”

In the opening quarter, the Knights jumped out to a 4-0 lead as Kayla Pope and Diamond Moore-Heath each made two free throws. Johnson County quickly responded with a 12-0 run as their lead stretched to eight with 2:44 remaining in the first quarter, 12-4.

North Platte halted the Cavaliers momentum on their next offensive possession as Moore-Heath scored on a putback. Johnson County stretch their lead to thirteen inside the final thirty seconds, before a step back three by Pope cut the deficit to 19-9 at the end of the first quarter.

In the opening seconds of the second quarter, Pope shook her defender and connected on a step back jumper to pull the Knights back within 19-11. Johnson County extended their lead back to double digits inside seven minutes to play, before Jordyn Moon banked in an off-balance jumper. The bucket ignited a 7-2 run as the Knights pulled back within 28-24.

The Cavaliers responded with a 6-0 run to push their lead back to ten inside the final two minutes of the second quarter. Janay Brauer answered with a three from the right wing to swing the momentum, as a short 6-2 burst pulled the Knights back within six as they headed into the halftime break, 36-30.

Johnson County responded to open the third quarter utilizing a 12-2 run to extend their lead to sixteen. Pope temporarily halted the run by completing an old fashioned three-point play on the Knights next offensive possession. The Cavaliers limited the offensive chances for North Platte down the stretch and extended their lead to 61-37 by the end of the third quarter.

The high-caliber Johnson County offense was limited to just eight points over the final ten minutes as the Knights defense tightened up. After the Cavaliers connected on two field goals in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, the Knights used a 7-2 run capped off by an Avery Johnson layup to trim the deficit to 67-44.

North Platte attempted to continue to cut into the deficit over the final five minutes, but the Cavaliers defense limited the offense opportunities for the Knights to remain unbeaten on the season.

Pope led all North Platte scorers with 13 points on 4-of-16 shooting. Moore-Heath rounded out the Knights double-digit scorers with 11 points, while leading the team with six rebounds.

The Knights (10-5) will return home on Friday for Military Appreciation Night against Central Community College. Tip is set for 5 p.m. inside the McDonald-Belton Gymnasium.

© 2022 The North Platte Bulletin. All rights reserved.