By Pastor Vince Carrig
The Lady Plainsmen trailed by 17 points at halftime, tied the game with 2:58 left, but managed only one more basket as the North Platte St. Patrick’s Lady Irish ended Perkins County’s 2010-11 season with a 50-42 sub-district 11 playoff win last Tuesday night (Feb. 15) in McCook.
St. Pat’s power forward Candice Shelton gashed the lane, hung in the air, took contact, spilled to the ground, made the shot and the free throw with 2:28 to go to give the Lady Irish all of the points they would need.
Shelton co-led the game in scoring with 17 points, and broke a 40-40 tie with her “and one” three-point play.
Perkins County forward Shania Metcalf had stroked two free throws to tie the score at 40-40.
Those shots capped an amazing comeback in which Tanya Metcalf scored 11 third quarter points, including a buzzer-beater from the wheel. The Lady Plainsmen junior forward Metcalf carved up the Lady Irish defense with mid-range jumpers, continuing her run into the fourth quarter with four more points.
Tanya Metcalf also scored 17 points.
Five missed free throws in the fourth quarter and two layups gone awry did not help Perkins County overcome a mountain of points on the other side of the scoreboard.
Shelby Alberry proved dangerous to the Lady Plainsmen, and later, dangerous to St. Pat’s. The lanky sophomore forward struck from long-range again and again to torment her opposition and post 16 points.
But with 4:20 left in the game and the Lady Irish needing Alberry to hold off a surging Perkins County team, she fouled out of the game.
Reserve sophomore guard Sam Byrn picked up Alberry’s scoring slack down the stretch. Byrn stepped in front of a point-to-point pass and rolled to the hole to extend St. Pat’s lead to 47-42 with less than a minute to play.
Byrn scored eight points, with the other six coming on mid-range jump shots. Byrn seemed to time the baskets to deflate any momentum the Lady Plainsmen tried to manufacture, though.
The Lady Plainsmen dominated the third quarter and outscored North Platte—St. Pat’s 21-9. That team in red looked very different than the first quarter version.
Alberry left plenty of room between herself and the three-point line when she struck to give the Lady Irish a 5-0 lead. Shelton stole and went to the hole, and after botching a breakaway layup, St. Pat’s kicked the ball out to Byrn, who made no mistake and the score 18-5.
The wheels came off early for Perkins County, who committed nine turnovers in the first quarter and hit just two of the nine shots they took from the field.
The Lady Plainsmen emerged from the locker room like a different team after halftime, showing more motion in their offense and more physical play on both sides of the court.
After so much work to tie the score, Shelton’s three-point play put a heap of pressure on the underdog Lady Plainsmen. They battled valiantly and admirably, and proved that they could slug toe-to-toe with a team that went 20-4, won the sub-district, and could play in the state tournament.
The Perkins County girls basketball team finished with a 10-13 record.
The 20-4 Lady Irish will face 21-1 Morrill in the district final on Friday, Feb. 25, with both teams possibly headed to the state tournament in Lincoln.
P.C. 42, NPSP 50
Perkins Co. 5 6 21 10—42
NPSP 16 12 9 13—50