Pratt High boys defeated Nickerson Tuesday in double overtime on the road, 54-49. The Lady Greenbacks lost 42-35.

It was Senior Night and Cancer Awareness Night at Nickerson on Tuesday where the Pratt High boys pulled a win out in double overtime 54-49 while Lady Green absorbed a 42-35 defeat.

It was going to be a tall order for Pratt’s girls to knock off Nickerson, pun intended. With a trio of 6-footers in the line-up, the Lady Panthers definitely had the length advantage over Pratt. For PHS to prevail, they were going to have to find a way to keep the bigger Panthers off the boards, create turnovers with their guards to keep Nickerson from getting into their offense, and shoot the ball well themselves from outside as Nickerson was sure to pack the lane with their bigs in a zone.

For the first quarter, things went according to script. Kaitlyn Rasmussen, Dani Staats and Allisan McGowan hit shots and PHS was up 15-7 after one of Lady Green’s better first quarters of the season.

“We came out aggressive and moved the ball with confidence,” PHS head coach Dustin Hildebrand observed.

In the second quarter, however, Nickerson began bullying their way to the offensive boards and that turned the game’s fortunes around. Going on a 10-2 run over the last half of Q2, the Panthers closed to within 22-21 at intermission.

“We had a lack of focus on rebounding for about two minutes,” Hildebrand said. “That put our defense in scramble mode when Nickerson was able to extend their possessions.”

After the break, the Lady Panthers began to find ways to get to the back of Pratt’s zone and started clicking with shots in the paint. An 8-0 run gave Nickerson a 29-22 lead halfway through Q3. Then McGowan hit a couple of treys and Kierson Maydew converted a basket and PHS clawed back to just a 32-30 deficit heading to the decisive stanza.

Rheagan Hoover scored a basket and a freebie early in Q4, but Lady Green simply could not find the range the rest of the way. Trailing 39-33 with 4:00 to play, PHS missed shot after shot coming down the stretch and could not get the gap closed, eventually falling 42-35.

“They broke down our 1-3-1 trap, and then when we missed a few shots, we began to get tentative,” Hildebrand said. “We didn’t execute offensively very well in the second half.”

A lot of the game’s stats were pretty even. Perhaps the difference was Nickerson’s 6 offensive rebounds to Pratt’s 3, and Pratt shooting 4/19 from the floor (2/13 from the arc) in the second half (after a 9/20 performance in the first half.) 

If you look up “tense barnburner” on Wikipedia, the Pratt vs Nickerson boys game is listed as an example. Pratt trailed at halftime, took the lead in the third quarter, hung on to send the game to overtime, managed to survive OT1, and then ultimately prevailed in the second overtime.

The game was pretty even in the first quarter, 14-12 Panthers. Pratt stumbled a bit in Q2 and Nickerson took a 23-16 lead at the half.

Nickerson’s size was making it tough on the Greenbacks to get much going in the paint, but PHS kept attacking, converting at the rack occasionally, and knocking down the intermittent 3-ball.

In Q3, Pratt came out hot both offensively and defensively. They were able to force Nickerson into numerous turnovers (13 on the night), and took advantage on their own end. Travis Theis had 3 pts, Landen Studer 5, Kaden Evert 5 and Brett Winsor 2 in the rally that put the Frogs up 31-30 heading to the fourth quarter.

Kaden Evert’s trio of trifectas kept the Greenbacks afloat in Q4 as those were the only points Pratt would score. Luckily, Nickerson missed a plethora of attempts from the charity stripe (4/12 in the second half) to keep them from being able to put the game on ice. 40-40 heading to overtime.

Pratt had a chance to win it in OT but misfired on their final possession. 46-46 to double overtime.

Grant Bolen and Theis each took the ball to the hole to begin OT #2 and give Pratt a leg up. Down the stretch with Nickerson fouling, Studer and Bolen each made a pair of pressure freebies to shut the lid on the 54-49 win.

“It’s tough to finish shots over big guys,” PHS head coach Chris Battin said of his team’s persistence in attacking inside. “We did a nice job of continuing to take it in there.”

“Double overtime games take a lot out of you,” Battin continued. “It takes a lot of digging deep. The kids just kept plugging away and were able to come away with a hard-fought victory.”

Pratt hosts Lyons on Friday.