The good thing about having a number of outside shooting threats is that if they're on, you can beat just about anybody.That's what happened for the North Platte High School girls' basketball team on Saturday against Norfolk. The Lady Bulldogs knocked down nine three-pointers on their way to a 55-44 win over the Panthers at the Dawg House.
"That crazy arc," NPHS coach Mark Woodhead said. "One goes down and then another one and then the rim gets bigger and bigger."
It took the Lady Dawgs (9-4) about a half to get going. They were down 24-20 at halftime and they made a few threes that kept the game close. But after the break, they went crazy from beyond the arc.
Norfolk (9-4) scored the first basket to open the second half to go up by six. But then Sally Hengen and Kaitlynn Harvey knocked down consecutive threes to tie the game.
The Panthers got a bucket to go ahead again. But Harvey nailed another three to give North Platte its first lead with a little over two minutes gone by in the second half.
Then Hengen hit another triple on the next possession to expand the lead to 32-28.
"We went from a six-point deficit to a four-point lead just like that," Woodhead said.
The Bulldogs only allowed two more points the rest of the quarter and they led 38-30 after the third.
NPHS got a good start to the fourth quarter. Allison Sawyer split in a pair of appearances at the free throw line in the opening minute of the fourth to expand the lead to 10 and then she hit a three to make it 43-30 with 5:48 left in the game.
The Lady Dawgs then hung on as they were never really threatened by Norfolk thanks to timely baskets.
"We were up 13, 15 points in the fourth quarter we know they'd start to scramble and press for turnovers and that gave us some buckets in transition," Woodhead said.
As big as it was for North Platte to shoot the ball well. It's defense proved to be just as crucial. The key with the Lady Panthers is to contain its leading scorer Jaycee Bradley, something Woodhead said his team wasn't able to do when the Lady Bulldogs were defeated by Norfolk in the GNAC championship game.
But on Saturday, they held Bradley to 16 points.
"In the GNAC we were down eight at half and then we cut it to three," Woodhead said. "We had a couple of times where we lost Jaycee and she hit a couple of threes. Going back to Norfolk, we knew Jaycee was their focal point. We played some junk defenses on her. We played zone but we always had somebody on her and I think that frustrated her."