|Plainsmen give Irish another win|
By Pastor Vince Carrig
Micki Clinch charged through the middle of the lane, cue-balled a defender into a side pocket and rolled his ball in the hoop to lengthen North Platte St. Pats’ third quarter lead to 39-31 as the Irish left Grant with a 52-46 win over the Plainsmen Friday night.
Typical of the physically-aggressive play that referees watched, Clinch put that basket together with five other field goals, a three pointer and a few free throws to lead all scorers with 18 points.
Clinch hit his three pointer after motoring to the top of the arc as time expired in the first half, burying Perkins County under a seven-point deficit (24-17).
Excepting some late heroics from Jake Sexson’s two deep balls and Quinton Hite’s score from the wheel to close the Plainsmen’s gap to 50-46, St. Pat’s controlled the game in the second half.
Clinch and center Andrew Vinton scored all 11 of St. Pats’ first quarter points, and Vinton slipped a defender for a field goal and sewed up the game’s last two free throws to contribute 14 points to the Irish effort.
In the rear-view mirror except for two brief first quarter ties, Plainsmen senior Austin Gaston’s turnaround baseline jumper pulled his team as close as it would get, behind 17-15 in the second quarter.
Active swing forward Shaun O’Malley heated up in the third quarter for St. Pat’s, squaring up to hit one “three” and hitting another while stepping away from the goal; when guard Sean Keenan took what he stole to the hole, the North Platte team led comfortably at 36-23.
Senior center Tyler Brott succeeded close to the basket for the Plainsmen, leading them in scoring with 13 points. Fouled at least four times, Brott found St. Pat’s defenders wrapping their arms around him to defend inlet passes to him.
Hite struck for two three pointers in the game, and the one that just about went through the net as it left his hand answered one of O’Malley’s bombs and cut St. Pats’ lead to 36-26.
North Platte St. Pat’s took advantage of the opportunity they had to deflate the clock with passing and ball movement, and maintained a tight grip on the lead, which remained eight points with 34.5 seconds left in the game.
The Irish shot 7-for-8 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter (and 13 for 16/81percent overall), but a 1-for-6 performance in the last 8:00 did not help the Plainsmen chip away at their deficit.
Joseph Clinch sprung off the St. Pat’s bench to put away two shots right at the basket and a couple of free throws for six points—the amount of his team’s margin of victory.
The Plainsmen’s Alex Johnston broke in the back door for a couple and polished off a three-point play after getting fouled with arms completely extended; the starting sophomore guard finished with nine points.
PC 46, St. Pat’s 52
St. Pat’s 11 13 15 13—52
Perkins Co. 9 8 14 15—46