By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
DEARBORN - In the first three meetings between Bryce Kemper's Mid-Buchanan and his son, Braydn Kemper's North Platte, the Dragons had won by an average of 23 points.
On Tuesday, Braydn came as close as he ever had to beating Dad. In fact, the Panthers were on the verge of breaking a 12-game losing streak to the Dragons, which dates back to 2016.
With Tuesday's game knotted at 42, and with under 10 seconds left, Mid-Buchanan's Joe Clark passed the ball underneath to teammate Cade Brinton, whose layup went all the way around the edge of the rim and finally through the cylinder, lifting the Dragons to a 44-42 win in the first round of the North Platte tournament.
"We wanted to get the win," Brinton said. "It was a big game, you know. Dad versus son. So, we wanted to go out there and get the win and keep moving on in the tournament."
The game featured 12 ties and 14 lead changes, unofficially. Neither team ever led by more than three points.
North Platte led 11-9 at the end of the first, but Mid-Buchanan led 22-20 at halftime, thanks to a buzzer-beater triple from Raife Smith.
The game was tied at 33 entering the fourth, and after a long scoring drought by both teams in the middle of the fourth, it was tied again at 42-42 in the final minute.
With 41.1 seconds left, North Platte had the ball. After each team spent a timeout, and after each team got a stop, it was Panther ball once again with less than 20 seconds left.
Mid-Buchanan played a trap defense near midcourt, and the Dragons were able to knock the ball free and win possession off of a tip with 15.9 remaining.
After another flurry of timeouts from both sides, Mid-Buchanan drew up their final play with just over seven seconds left. Clark plugged the lane, and then passed it off at the last second to Brinton, who put it off the glass, around the rim and down.
"I was a little nervous," Brinton admitted. "I just tried to get it in there. It kind of just spun around for a minute. You couldn't have asked for a better shot."
Brinton had five points, while Clark led Mid-Buchanan with 12 points and at least five blocks. Ian Wegenka finished with seven points. Jackson Wahlgren, Raife Smith and Jackson Sauvage each scored six.
Creek Johnson led North Platte with a game-high 21 points. Dylan Armstrong followed with 10.
It was the fourth, and by far the closest edition of Bryce vs. Braydn Kemper to date.
"He's going to get me at some point I'm sure," Bryce said of Braydn. "I'm just glad it wasn't today. I can put it off for another year, anyway. (North Platte) has a real good, young team. They're hungry and they've gotten a lot better as the year has gone on. So, I'm proud of (Braydn) from that standpoint."
Mid-Buchanan advances to face West Platte (10-5) in semifinals on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. North Platte sees Braymer in consolation on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.
West Platte beat Braymer Tuesday, 62-32.
GIRLS: North Platte 50 Mid-Buchanan 43
The Panthers (16-2) won their 10th straight game to open up play in their home tournament Tuesday. Kenedie Summers led the way with 14 points. Jaylin Burgess had 11, while Karli Guinn scored 10.
Kamryn Lippold led Mid-Buchanan with 11 points. Mallie Lieffring had nine.
North Platte faces West Platte in semifinals on Thursday at 7:15 p.m. Mid-Buchanan faces Polo in consolation on Wednesday at 7:15 p.m.
You can follow Tommy on Twitter @TommyKFEQ and St. Joseph Post @StJosephPost.