Platte County senior Judah Vignery looks toward the bench after passing the career 1,000-point mark against Raytown on Friday at Pirate Fieldhouse. ROSS MARTIN/PC Preps Extra

Vignery hits milestone of 1,000 career points on bittersweet night filled with intrigue

Platte County’s bid for share of conference title comes up short in loss to Raytown that sees star senior guard join only 7 others in program history to hit historic scoring mark.

Judah Vignery rose up from the right wing on an open look for a 3-pointer late in the third quarter and hit a milestone shot at a pivotal moment.

Platte County senior Judah Vignery goes in for an uncontested layup against Raytown on Friday at Pirate Fieldhouse.

With momentum surging, Platte County’s senior guard seemed in position to lead a memorable comeback on a historic night. Raytown ended up playing spoiler, pulling away for a 67-54 victory Friday at Pirate Fieldhouse and creating a bittersweet scenario for Vignery and the Pirates.

Vignery scored a team-high 25 and hit the 1,000-point mark for his career, becoming just the eighth in more than 100 years of program history to do so, but Platte County entered with a chance to earn a share of the Suburban Conference White Division title. Raytown ended up taking the crown outright.

“Ultimately, personal achievements they’ll happen if they happen, but I mean we wanted to get the win,” Vignery said. “We knew that if we get the win we get to share the conference (title) and that was a goal of ours as a team. Once we started to get some wins under our belt, we definitely thought we could win the conference. Definitely, would’ve traded that for the conference championship, but it happens.”

Some confusion arose in the leadup to the game with a possible scoring error from Platte County’s loss to Belton three days earlier made the milestone a bit of a moving target.

Originally, Vignery received credit for 13 points but ultimately ended up with 15 and depending on the solution, he could’ve needed 13 or 15 to reach 1,000. However, the 3-point shot with 3 minutes, 15 seconds left in the third quarter put him at 15, meaning he hit both potential marks on the same play. Platte County coach Rick Hodge took a quick timeout to recognize the moment when he joined David Bridger (1977), Brian Boekhout (1990), C.J. Fulk (1992), Ryan Nichols (2000), Brandon Gutshall (2001), Lorenzo Riley (2005) and Kirk Stegeman (2005) in the 1,000-point club.

Platte County senior Judah Vignery goes airborn while losing the ball against Raytown on Friday at Pirate Fieldhouse.

Vignery scored just seven points in the first half but knew the mark remained within sight.

“It was just a little stressful coming into today because I knew it could happen and everyone was counting on it. When it hit, I mean I was just relieved I could finish the rest of the game, just go out and play my game,” he said. “It means a lot. Coming into this year, I knew it was possible.”

“Very happy for Judah,” Platte County coach Rick Hodge said. “That’s a stat that doesn’t come along very often. It shows you the dedication to the program and his dedication to being a better player throughout his career here.”

Raytown (17-6, 6-1 White Division) led 38-19 at halftime behind big second quarters from junior guard Larry Porter and senior Daron Wilson.

Vignery changed the momentum after the break with 16 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, in the third quarter. The second triple gave him 1,0002 career points — scoring discrepancy resolved — and he added back-to-back three-point plays to pull Platte County within 49-35. Raytown then fouled him shooting another 3, and he cashed in two of the three free throws to try the gap to 49-37.

Platte County junior guard Anthony Morrison takes a 3-pointer against Raytown on Friday at Pirate Fieldhouse.

“I think the other kids feed off of (Vignery’s) confidence and poise and character,” Hodge said. “I told them in the locker room how proud of them I was that they didn’t fold and they didn’t quit competing.”

Platte County again trailed by 15 going to the fourth quarter before junior guard Anthony Morrison, receiving his third straight start since a potentially season-ending knee injury to senior guard Isaac Dittrick, keyed a 10-0 run. Morrison hit a 3-pointer, and Vignery scored his final two points on a breakaway layup to start the stretch.

The biggest moment came when Morrison, who finished with 12 points, missed a pair of free throws, only for junior reserve forward Archie Wesley and junior forward Jaden Peterson to combine on an offensive rebound. The ball reversed back over to Morrison on the right wing for his fourth and final 3-pointer to bring the Pirates to within 52-47 with 3:42 left in regulation — the closest they had been since the end of the first quarter.

“Fighting for the offensive board to get us a 3,” Hodge said. “I thought at that point we could pull it off because as a coach you see the kids aren’t done fighting so as long as the kids aren’t done fighting there’s a chance. I’ve seen stranger things happen.”

Raytown immediately called a timeout and then halted the comeback bid. The Blue Jays scored on the next possession and then forced a turnover on the inbounds, quickly turned the miscue into another basket.

Platte County senior guard Connor Currence makes a pass in traffic against Raytown on Friday at Pirate Fieldhouse.

Platte County held Raytown scoreless for the first 4-plus minutes of the fourth quarter but couldn’t sustain the charge while forced to turn up the defensive pressure.

“The kids were gassed from defending and hustling,” Hodge said. “I rolled with pretty much the same lineup because that’s what pulled us back into the game. It was unfortunate because the kids had handled the pressure so well, but we did have a couple of tough turnovers late.”

Platte County (13-10, 5-3 White Division) started slow and didn’t have a point until Morrison hit the first of back-to-back 3-pointers nearly halfway through the first quarter. The second came with 2:54 on the clock and provided an early tie at 6-6.

Moments later, Peterson, the Pirates’ second-leading scorer, picked up his second foul on a questionable call from well behind the play that negated a blocked shot. He went to the bench for the rest of the quarter and finished with seven points — all in the second half.

Vignery’s first basket came in the closing seconds of the opening frame, while seemingly drawing contact and ending up on the ground with no foul called. Raytown inbounded, and reserve guard Miguel Morgan drained a deep 3-pointer, his only basket of the game, at the buzzer to put the Blue Jays up 17-12.

Instead of the 80-plus-percent free throw shooter having a chance at a three-point play that could have pulled Platte County within one, Raytown widened the gap and started a stretch of hot shooting. The Blue Jays hit four 3s in the second quarter — three for Wilson (13 points) and another for Porter (game-high 31 points). Hodge called a timeout after the first of the frame and used the opportunity to express his frustrations.

Platte County junior Jaden Peterson goes up for a shot against Raytown on Friday at Pirate Fieldhouse.

“There were some calls that got us out of rhythm early whereas Raytown handled it and made a run and got separation from us to where we were playing from behind,” Hodge said. “There were other issues. There’s a lot of other reasons that we fell behind. We gave up too many second, third shots per possession. That can’t happen.”

Raytown opened the second quarter on a 10-0 run.

Vignery’s first 3-pointer eventually quelled the momentum, but the situation became more concerning when senior point guard Connor Currence slammed into the partition behind the Blue Jays’ basket hustling for a loose ball and injured his knee. He returned to play most of the second half, but the Pirates were in a tough spot.

“Games like this happen. We fought back,” Vignery said. “I was proud of the team.”

In wake of Dittrick’s injury, Hodge continues to tinker with Platte County’s rotations, having turned Morrison into a starter after he spent the majority of the season as the top scoring option off the bench. He ranks third behind Vignery and Peterson in points per game. Against Raytown, the Pirates received diverse contributions and baskets at key times from Currence, senior starting guard Brady Wetzel, senior forward Jacob Isaacson, Wesley, junior forward Hayden Schultz and sophomore guard Brennan McLaughlin — all with two points apiece.

Isaacson and Schultz both came off the bench in the first half to hit layups that kept Platte County within reach, while McLaughlin and Currence hit shots during the comeback and Wesley added a pair of free throws.

Platte County students celebrate Judah Vignery hitting the 1,000-point career milestone against Raytown on Friday night.

“We showed growth tonight by essentially handling Raytown’s defensive pressure to where we were getting scoring from a bunch of different places, which we’ve struggled with so far this year,” Hodge said. “But Raytown’s a good team. I hate to say it’s a missed opportunity because we showed growth as the game went on. We’re in the teens at halftime, and I’m happy to see the improvement.”

Platte County has now lost two straight since a season-best four-game win streak and faces matchups against Class 4 powers Raytown South (13-11) and Grandview (18-4) in the final week of the regular season. The Pirates also drew the No. 5 seed for the upcoming Class 5 District 8 tournament despite having a win over top-seeded Winnetonka (20-5) and two against third-seeded William Chrisman (13-12).

Two losses apiece to second-seeded Kearney (13-10) and fourth-seeded Smithville (12-12) complicated matters for Platte County, which only won eight games last year and returned only Vignery, Currence and Peterson with significant varsity experience. The Pirates lost to Van Horn in last year’s district first round No. 4 vs. No. 5 game.

Platte County junior guard Anthony Morrison fights for a loose ball against Raytown on Friday at Pirate Fieldhouse.

“This helps us in a way. That gives us a couple of games to peek at some kids and see how they can help us and identify roles,” Hodge said. “Normally, you get to this time in the season and roles are pretty well identified, but Isaac goes down with the injury and now you’re looking at the rotations. Do players just get more minutes or are you looking down the bench?”

Belton 51, Platte County 44

Behind 20 points and 10 rebounds from Calvin Lacey, Belton earned a season series split with a White Division victory Tuesday night in Belton.

Platte County scored just four points in the second quarter and went into halftime down 10. Vignery scored five in the first quarter but didn’t score again until the fourth when he put up 10 more while trying to lead a late comeback.

Behind most of the way, Platte County ended up shooting just 8 of 30 on 3-pointers with Vignery and Morrison (11 points) hitting three apiece. Vignery and Schultz (two points) finished with a joint team-high of six rebounds apiece.

Wetzel (seven points), Peterson (six points, five rebounds and a team-high four assists) and Currence (three points) rounded out the scoring for Platte County.

The result ultimately didn’t impact Platte County’s chase of the White Division crown. More scenarios would have existed to earn a share of the conference title with Raytown with a win over Belton, but the deciding factor ultimately belonged to the Friday matchup between the two frontrunners.

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