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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Greenbacks down Panthers, advance

  • There’s an axiom in basketball that it’s hard to beat a team three times in a year. The Pratt High boys had beaten Nickerson twice before this season- a narrow victory in January, then a convincing win in February when one of the Panthers’ better players was sidelined.

    The Greenbacks were able to complete the trifecta Friday night at Russell, downing Nickerson 40-32 in the sub-state semi-finals.
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  • There’s an axiom in basketball that it’s hard to beat a team three times in a year. The Pratt High boys had beaten Nickerson twice before this season- a narrow victory in January, then a convincing win in February when one of the Panthers’ better players was sidelined.
    The Greenbacks were able to complete the trifecta Friday night at Russell, downing Nickerson 40-32 in the sub-state semi-finals.
    It was not the Mona Lisa of basketball games as neither side exactly lit it up. But it was, in head coach David Swank’s words, “Greenback basketball.”
    “We competed, we played hard,” Swank explained. “At this stage of the year, it’s just survive and move on- and that’s what we did.”
    The good news for Pratt in the first quarter was that they only gave up 4 points to the Panthers. The bad news was they only led 7-4 after eight minutes. Brandon Ruckle and Samson Kohman each managed hoops for PHS, and Shawn Ramos converted the “and-1”, but the Frogs missed quite a few makeable shots that would have allowed them to get some breathing space.
    The second quarter started out slow offensively for both teams as well. With 4:30 until half, Pratt still led just 9-6, each side having managed two points. Then Ruckle, Adam Bartel and Derek Barnard each got a hoop to go in, giving Pratt a 15-9 advantage with 2:00. With the ball, Pratt played for the final shot. Nickerson came up with a steal and made a breakaway lay-up at the buzzer to get within 15-11.
    Both sides mounted a more effective offense after halftime. Nickerson got just a little bit the better of it, outscoring the Frogs 13-12 in Q3. For Pratt early on, Bartel made a freebie and Liam Kahmeyer made a hoop, but for the most part, PHS continued to see shots roll off the bucket. At 4:00 the Panthers had knotted the score at 18.
    Then Derek Barnard, who made several big plays on the night, got the momentum back for Pratt by drilling consecutive treys to give PHS a 24-18 lead. “Derek played really well tonight,” Coach Swank acknowledged. As the quarter continued, Nickerson got a couple of Windex buckets- something the Greenbacks had been denying them- and Pratt was up just 27-24 heading into the decisive frame.
    Derek Barnard hit another trey, then scored in transition to get PHS off to a good start in the 4th quarter. At 6:10, Pratt was up 32-24. Nickerson applied pressure in an attempt to get back in the game. Samson Kohman scored on the pressbreaker, and then it came down to making free throws. Bartel, Ruckle, Barnard and Kohman each converted from the line down the stretch. Pratt was able to keep the Panthers at bay and wind up with the 40-32 victory. Pratt will play in the sub-state finals Saturday night at Russell, 7:30 p.m.
    Page 2 of 2 - Pratt boys 7 8 12 13 40
    Nickerson 4 7 13 8 32
    Ruckle 6, Ramos 3, Kohman 7, Derek Barnard 16, Bartel 6, Kahmeyer 2

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