KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Winnetonka players and fans rushed the court, while frustrations and dejection were apparent on the Platte County sideline.
An “inadvertent whistle” provided more opportunity than should have been available, and Winnetonka made the most of gifted extra time. Griffins sophomore guard Ryan Barnhart banked in a 3-pointer from beyond halfcourt at the buzzer in a nonsensical finish to a 57-55 nonconference victory over Platte County on Thursday at Winnetonka High School. He hit three 3-pointers in the final 40 seconds of regulation — two in a very unorthodox manner — to erase the Pirates’ late comeback effort.
Platte County junior guard Judah Vignery and senior forward Chandavian Bradley combined for 42 points, but an apparent mistake from the officials overshadowed their standout performances. Out of a timeout with 4.4 seconds remaining, the Pirates appeared to cover the winning basket when Vignery inbounded to Bradley with a seal on the right block for an easy bucket.
Instead, an official blew the whistle in what appeared to be a timeout awarded to Winnetonka, which didn’t have any remaining.
Platte County coach Rick Hodge immediately pointed this out and indicated a technical foul would be called against the Griffins, who used the confusion as an opportunity to huddle at their bench and start drawing up a play. The officials were too busy huddling to discuss the course of action to keep the players on the court and then indicated no timeout had been called.
However, the whistle prevented the clock from continuing to run, and down 55-54, Winnetonka either would have needed to inbound to try a desperation 3 on the fly or run out of time altogether.
As Hodge protested the absurdity of the situation, officials prepared to let play resume with 2.1 seconds on the clock. He eventually opted to take a timeout with Platte County not ready to defend the situation — a decision that unfortunately allowed more time to set up the final play. Winnetonka eventually inbounded to Barnhart, who took a running start up the left sideline before letting a shot fly under pressure from Pirates junior guard Connor Currence.
The memorable shot went down to deliver an improbable win for Winnetonka, while Platte County (5-10) lost a third straight — all in a uniquely frustrating manner.
Winnetonka led the majority of the second half and continually turned back comeback efforts until going cold on offense in the fourth quarter. Platte County trailed by seven multiple times and went behind 48-41 early in the fourth quarter but made a final surge over the next 5 minutes to seemingly take control of the matchup.
Platte County senior guard Boston Wahlert’s 3-pointer from the right wing with 5:29 left in regulation started what became an extended 11-0 run. Bradley then set up sophomore guard Jaden Peterson for a layup that closed the gap to 48-46 and forced Winnetonka coach Kirk Stegeman — a Platte County graduate and former player under Hodge — to take one of his last timeouts. The Pirates responded with six more unanswered with Vignery hitting a pair of free throws and adding a baseline floater to put them in front 50-48.
Bradley’s driving layup with 1:19 on the clock increased Platte County’s lead to 52-48. The Pirates contributed to the late-game dramatics, going just 3-for-7 on free throws in the fourth quarter with Bradley missing the front end of a one-and-one situation with 50 seconds to go in a situation where the lead could’ve become virtually insurmountable.
Winnetonka took advantage with Barnhart hitting a deep 3 on the left wing with 41 seconds to go before Stegeman called the final timeout. Peterson, who finished with seven points, ended up with the ball on the ensuring inbounds and fortunately drew a foul on what almost ended up a jump ball that would have returned possession to the Griffins.
Peterson hit 1 of 2 to put Platte County up 53-51, and Winnetonka came right back down and fed the ball to Barnhart, who took an awkward 3-pointer off of one foot that went down. The Pirates were suddenly back behind 54-53, and a long possession ended with Wahlert, who scored four points, driving the left baseline to take a running floater freshman guard Ky Coleman blocked out of bounds underneath the basket.
Next came the well drawn-up play for Bradley’s go-ahead shot, the chaos related to the inadvertent whistle and Barnhart’s winning heave.
Platte County entered in need of a win after scoring only three points in the fourth quarter of a home loss to Grain Valley in Suburban Conference White Division play just two days earlier. The Pirates responded well with Vignery hitting a pair of early 3s, the second banked in from the top of the key, to take an early 8-5 lead on the Griffins.
Vignery added a breakaway layup to make it 10-7 but took a tumble into the padded concrete wall on the play after taking contact after the shot that didn’t result in a foul call. He briefly went to the bench but returned to hit the third of his five 3s late in the first quarter to pull Platte County within 14-13 to halt a 7-0 Winnetonka run. The Pirates briefly took the lead back when Bradley drove into the lane and dished to Peterson for a layup early in the second quarter.
Bradley then added an up-and-under layup to make it a 7-0 run for Platte County that prompted a timeout from Stegeman. The Pirates kept the momentum and pushed the advantage out to 22-15 with a two-handed dunk from Bradley and Vignery’s fourth 3.
Winnetonka responded with a 12-0 run that included a pair of 3s to take a lead that would last until the final minutes of the fourth quarter. The Griffins hit four triples total in the second quarter to take a 31-26 advantage into halftime.
Platte County missed some opportunities late with a pair of steals in the final seconds before the break resulting in a missed contested layin for Wahlert and a desperation 3-pointer from senior forward Trevor Redding (two points) that rimmed out at the buzzer.
After being held scoreless in the first quarter, Bradley started to key the offense in all aspects. He scored eight in the second quarter, and Vignery’s 3 in the opening minute of the third quarter pulled Platte County within 31-29. A split of free throws from Wahlert and an offensive rebound and putback of his miss from Bradley made it a one-point game at 35-34.
Winnetonka answered with five straight and continued to lead.
Vignery missed a pair of free throws early in the fourth quarter that would have again cut Platte County’s deficit to one point. The Griffins pushed the advantage back out to 48-41 with a layup from Coleman and then forcing a quick turnover for another basket.
Platte County dominated the next five minutes but couldn’t overcome the missed free throws and late heroics from Barnhart, who tallied a team-high of 19 points with five 3-pointers. Coleman added 11 points and eight assists.
Grain Valley 56, Platte County 41
The Pirates went about 8 minutes without a shot made from the field in a disastrous closing stretch Tuesday night at Pirate Fieldhouse.
Grain Valley turned the drought into a 22-1 run that turned a 38-34 deficit into a runaway double-digit conference victory. Platte County went ahead 38-34 with 35 seconds left in the third quarter on a 3-pointer from senior guard Parker Amos — his only basket of the game, but the Eagles went into the fourth quarter down just one after Herbert hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
After Amos’ 3-pointer, Platte County didn’t have another shot made from the field until Redding (six points) hit a jumper in the lane with 32 seconds left.
Grain Valley outscored the Pirates 19-3 in the fourth quarter with a free throw from Wahlert (four points) their only other points. The Eagles scored the first nine of the frame before he went 1-for-3 on a trip to the line with 2:50 on the clock.
Platte County never recovered, and Grain Valley’s closing stretch included going 4-for-4 on free throws after a foul-technical foul combo and then adding a bucket on the ensuing possession to complete the 22-1 run.
Thank to Vignery, Platte County again started strong. He hit a pair of 3s to stake the Pirates to advantages of 8-2 and 11-5 in the first quarter.
Grain Valley responded and pulled within 13-12 but failed to take a shot after holding for a final possession. The Eagles then went ahead for the first time early in the second quarter, only for Platte County to respond with six unanswered with help from baskets for reserve junior guard Connor Currence and Peterson and the first basket for Bradley, who would finish with just six points. The Pirates were up 19-14 but went into halftime up just one after allowing an 8-2 run.
Platte County took the lead back on a one-handed dunk from Bradley and eventually held a 25-24 advantage at the break after Grain Valley’s running bank shot at the buzzer rolled out.
Vignery scored five in a 7-0 run for Platte County to start the third quarter, capped with another 3-pointer. He added his final points on a fourth 3 — this one from the left wing — to make it 35-30, but the Pirates would score just six more points from that point on and dropped to 0-4 in league play with a second straight loss.
Platte County entered off of a 31-point loss to Lafayette (St. Joseph) in the championship game of Kearney’s Bulldog Classic. That means the three-game losing streak includes going behind from the outset and facing a running clock, allowing a lead to start the fourth quarter turn into a double-digit defeat and a miracle finish that continued the stretch of frustration.