The North Platte High School boys' basketball team scored the last 11 points on Friday night to beat Millard West 44-38 at the Dawg House.
"I think tonight we saw a lot of improvement from individuals," NPHS coach Matt Kaminski said. "We're doing a lot of things that we didn't do two months ago and we need that in the next game and in districts."
The first half was very even and Millard West led 22-20 at halftime. In the third quarter, the Wildcats (9-13) went on a run and they took a 30-22 lead with just under two minutes until the end of the quarter.
But Kade Erickson, playing his final game in the Dawg House, brought life to what was a stagnant Bulldog offense. The senior answered back with a three-pointer and with nine seconds left in the third he got a layup to make it 30-27.
In the fourth, Erickson scored another basket to bring the Dawgs (11-12) to within 34-33. But Phil Ehly scored two straight baskets for Millard West to make it a five point game again near halfway through the fourth.
It was the last points the Wildcats scored. The rally began with another bucket by Erickson and a couple of free throws from Bradey Anderson to pull back within one.
Then with 2:15 left, Erickson drilled a three to give North Platte the lead 40-38. The Bulldogs then stopped the Wildcats on the next two possessions and with 48 seconds left, Erickson was fouled and he hit both free throws to make it a two-possession game.
Joey Koca attempted a three on the ensuing possession but he missed and Shane Mauch got the rebound for NPHS. Mauch was then fouled immediately by Ben Kositzke. With 19 seconds left, the junior nailed both of the free throws to essentially ice the game for his nine senior teammates in their last game at home.
The Wildcats again couldn't score on their last possession and Anderson recovered a loose ball and dribbled out the clock.
"It was nice to make plays down the stretch," Kaminski said. "That's when we need to hit shots and get stops and we did that. It was a very good fourth quarter."
Millard West 11 11 8 8 - 38
North Platte 11 9 7 17 - 44
Millard West (38)-Joey Koca 2, Austin Hall 3, Phil Ehly 6, Adam Staashelm 5, Joey Evans 9, Logan Anderjaska 2, Ben Kositzke 11
North Platte (44)-Shane Mauch 8, Bradey Anderson 9, Kade Erickson 19, Drew Callaghan 6, Kolby Foote 2
Free Throws: MW 5-7, NP 12-19; Three Point Goals: MW 1 (Staashelm), NP 4 (Erickson 3, Mauch)