Drew Callaghan and Kade Erickson combined for 37 points for the Bulldogs on Friday at North Platte High School in downing the Links of Lincoln High 64-39 in a game that wasn’t that close. The Links outscored North Platte 21-16 in the final quarter to close the gap.
Callaghan was 8-of-13 from the field and 5-of-10 at the line as he led all scorers with 21 points. Erickson ended the contest 2-of-3 on two-pointers, but was 4-of-6 from behind the arc for 16 points.
“We shot the ball well and that obviously helps anytime your playing,” said North Platte High coach Matt Kaminski. “I thought it was a solid effort from everybody.
“We really tried to key on our offense in getting it inside and out all the time and we did get some good looks from some spot-up shooters. That’s what we have to do. We’ve got to feed the hot guy and play to our strengths and what’s working for us at the time.”
North Platte put together a run to begin the game on a steal and bucket by Bradey Anderson. Luke Write took an offensive board and put it back, and when Callaghan hit both his free throws the Bulldogs were up 6-0. The Links would come back to tie the game briefly when Brian Aguilar scored after a steal, but North Platte hit on 12 of the next 13 points to take command.
Jack Kenny started with a 3 from the top of the key and after a Links free throw the Bulldogs scored nine straight. Callaghan hit one of two free throws, Erickson scored on a break and Callaghan hit for two on an Erickson assist.
Wright scored in the paint and Callaghan hit off an inbounds pass from Kenny for an 18-7 lead with 1 minute, 38 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs went on to outscore Lincoln High 16-5 in the second quarter, taking a 34-14, halftime lead. Erickson began the quarter with three successive 3s from different spots on the floor.
North Platte’s offense was clicking, but it was the Bulldogs defense that impressed Kaminski.
“I was very pleased with our defense the entire game,” said the Bulldogs second-year coach. “We came out mentally ready to play.
“We talked about playing five guys together — team defense — and containing them, and I thought we did a good job of that. I also thought we did a good job of getting back on defense and not giving them any layups.”
The Links could only manage four points in the third quarter, as the Bulldogs zone defensive pressure caused many of the 17 Links turnovers in the contest.
“I think we surprised them a little bit with our pressure,” Kaminski said. “I was proud of us, we only had three turnovers the first half. If you can pass the ball like that you will give yourself opportunities to win.
“Our defensive pressure was good as a team. We got a lot of tips, a lot of deflections and a lot of turnovers that maybe we didn’t get last year.”
KeShawn Wilson and Payton Helmstadter each had nine points for the Links.
The North Platte Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs will host Hastings today. The Lady Bulldogs tip-off is set for 1:45 p.m. followed by the Bulldogs at 3:30 p.m.
Lincoln High (0-1)...........................9 5 4 21 — 39
North Platte (1-0).........................18 16 14 16 — 64
North Platte individual statistics: (2 pt fg, 3 pt fg, ft, pts, reb)
Brady Mason – 0/1, 0/0, 0/0, 0, 0; Shane Mauch – 1/3, 1/1, 1/3, 6, 3; Alec Wesslund – 0/0, 0/1, 0/0, 0, 0; Bradey Anderson – 2/2, 0/0, 0/1, 4, 3; Kade Erickson – 2/3, 4/6, 0/0, 16, 2; Jack Kenny – 2/6, 1/2, 0/0, 7, 1; Drew Callaghan – 8/13, 0/1, 5/10, 21, 8; Nick Wilkinson – 0/0, 0/0, 4/4, 4, 0; Kolby Foote – 0/2, 0/0, 2/2, 2, 3; Luke Wright – 2/6, 0/0, 0/0, 4, 4.