By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
FAUCETT - It's a critical, home conference game in mid-February with districts just around the corner.
Generating energy early on would typically be easy to do.
It was for North Platte, who jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead and a 12-7 advantage after the first quarter.
Dragons' coach Rod Elms wasn't all that surprised, given the amount of snow days there have been lately.
"We've been off for a couple days and you know girls are," Elms chuckled, "they're going to sit around and snack and sleep all day. So (the slow start) didn't surprise me a lot. (North Platte) ran the floor on us better than I expected.
"We laid off our press (defense) until we got our basketball legs underneath us, and then we started making shots. Once we got our basketball legs, things kind of took care of themselves."
Once Mid-Buchanan got loose and ran their pace, they didn't turn back. The Dragons (13-9) tied the game at the end of the third quarter, and outscored North Platte 20-10 in the final period on their way to a 53-43 win at Mid-Buchanan High School on Tuesday night, giving the Dragons six straight wins.
Sophomore Hannah Williams was the key to a big Mid-Buchanan finish, scoring 11 of her 13 points in the final quarter.
"I just focused on driving and taking it to the hole," she said. "My three was off earlier in the game, so I just led attack. And we really just pushed the pace as a team."
After being held scoreless in the first quarter, senior Kacie Livengood scored 14 of her game-high 17 points in the second half. She nailed a three-pointer in the second, third and fourth quarter as well.
"We knew it was going to be a tough game," Livengood said. "When (Roach) hit that (three) before the half, I think it motivated us to get our stuff together, and I just think that three really motivated us, because we wanted to keep our win streak."
While it was a happy ending for Mid-Buchanan, it wasn't the smoothest of starts, as the Dragons got behind 17-9 early in the second with fouls and turnovers stacking up.
Once Mid-Buchanan turned up the pressure defensively, Coach Elms felt the tide turning for his team, even when North Platte's Josie Roach, who led her team with 16 points, nailed a three-pointer right before the buzzer to put the Panthers up 22-18 at the break.
"I'd rather have that than something in the paint," Elms said. "People are going to make shots like that. I'll take that."
In all, the Dragons outscored North Platte 35-21 in the second half, and held the Panthers (14-8) to just six second half field goals and only one made three -pointer in the entire game.
"Our press will get you hopefully in the fourth quarter," Elms said. "We try to wear on people. We're little and fast, so we try and use that to our advantage."
Mid-Buchanan stays home to host East Atchison on Wednesday, with girls' varsity starting at approximately 6:30 p.m.
North Platte goes to East Buchanan on Wednesday for a 6 p.m. tip.
Mid-Buchanan 53 - 7, 11, 15, 20
North Platte 43 - 12, 10, 11, 10
Mid-Buchanan scorers - Kacie Livengood - 17, Hannah Williams - 13, Khania Clark - 9, Mallie Lieffring - 8, Jordan Thornton - 6, Taiylor Harrington - 1, Paityn King - 1.
North Platte scorers - Josie Roach - 16, Lonee French - 7, Ryann Smith - 6, Gracie Ramsey - 5, Karli Guinn - 4, Jaylin Burgess - 3, Gracelynn Hoffmann - 2.
You can follow Tommy on Twitter @TommyKFEQ and St. Joseph Post @StJosephPost.