North Platte St. Pat’s took a lead against Chase County and held on for a 48-32 victory Friday in the semifinal of the South Platte Valley Association tournament at North Platte Community College.
The Irish (13-2) now face Bridgeport (9-4) for the championship on Saturday at 6 p.m.
Chase County (5-8) was successful in slowing down St. Pat’s for much of the game and the Longhorns led at the end of the first quarter, 12-10.
St. Pat’s rallied before halftime. They took a 22-16 lead with 1:30 to go in the half when Brecken Erickson put in Sutton Tickle’s missed shot. Will Moats scored inside to make it an eight-point lead. Erickson scored again with 19 seconds left to put the Irish up double figures, 26-16, which was the score at the break.
“From a confidence standpoint, that run was huge for us to get some separation,” St. Pat’s Head Coach Bill O’Malley said.
St. Pat’s began the second half the same way they ended the first. Sam Troshynski made a couple free throws and Andrew Brosius hit a three-pointer for a 15-point lead.
Chase County pulled back to within 36-26 on Kade Anderson’s three. But in answer, Erickson got another bucket and Brosius followed with another three.
The Longhorns scored the last two baskets of the third quarter, making the score 41-30 going into the fourth. The Irish were content to control the ball, passing it around the perimeter. Chase County didn’t score again until Easton Fries’ layup with two minutes left that made it 47-32.
Those were the Longhorns’ only points of the fourth and St. Pat’s held on to play for the championship for the third straight year.
“Chase County did a good job of taking care of the ball,” O’Malley said. “They made some timely shots and that kept the game tight most of the way.”
Bridgeport, the team the Irish defeated in the finals last year, stands between the Irish and their third conference title. St. Pat’s blasted Bridgeport, 64-31, on Dec. 3, but that was in the first week of the season. This time, the Bulldogs may be better able to handle the Irish’s full-court pressure than they did that night.
“I think Bridgeport is playing really well and I’m hoping we can be at our best,” O’Malley said.
Score by quarters:
Chase County: 12-4-14-2 – 32
St. Pat’s: 10-16-15-7 – 48
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