Plattview and Elkhorn North Highschools go head-to-head at start of game.
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5 Thoughts on Platteview’s 74-65 Win against Elkhorn North

December 03, 2021

The high school basketball season officially tipped off on Thursday as the sound of bouncing basketballs filled gyms all across the state, including the one in Springfield as Platteview hosted Elkhorn North.

The game featured some wild swings, but a big fourth quarter catapulted the Trojans to a 74-65 victory.

Here are five thoughts on the Class B showdown.

Mr. Unstoppable

Platteview junior Connor Millikan was one of the most productive players in the entire state last season, scoring better than 26 points per game and nearly averaging a double-double at 6-foot-1. He picked up where he left off on Thursday, dropping 33 points on 15-of-25 shooting (3-of-7 from deep), 11 rebounds, four assists, four steals and three blocks.

After a six-point first quarter, Millikan got hot in the second, equaling Elkhorn North by himself with 13 points. He missed his first four shots and turned the ball over twice to begin the third quarter. His first bucket of the second half came at the 1:02 mark of the third quarter, but he didn’t miss again after that, hitting his last six shots and scoring 14 points in the last 9:02 of the game to lead the Trojans to victory.

Millikan has deep range on his jumper, and he knocked down a couple of pull-up jumpers as well. But what makes Millikan special is his ability to finish at and around the basket. He has the touch to finish over defenders, the length and creativity to finish around them and the strength to finish through them. He’s also a ferocious rebounder and has a knack for making plays defensively.

Millikan is worth the price of admission by himself.

Brandon the Battering Ram

Millikan wasn’t the only big-time scorer in the game. Elkhorn North senior Brandon Orgilbold finished with 24 points to lead the way for the Wolves. The jumper wasn’t falling for him, but he attacked the basket hard for six buckets around the rim and five trips to the foul line, hitting nine of his 10 free-throw attempts.

After transferring from Elkhorn to Elkhorn North last year when the new school opened up, Orgilbold stepped up as the team leader and go-to player on offense. He averaged 17.0 points per game and will look to build on that this season. He’ll likely be among Class B’s leaders in free-throw attempts this season because of his explosiveness to get to the rim and his strength to draw and finish through contact.

Roller Coaster Ride

The game featured some wild swings. After a 15-all tie in the first quarter, Millikan put the Trojans on his back and carried them to a nine-point halftime lead with a 22-13 second quarter.

The Wolves turned the tables in the third quarter, scoring 10 straight out of the locker room to take the lead. Four lead changes followed before Elkhorn North closed the period with a 13-5 run to take a 54-47 lead after three. The Wolves won the period 26-10.

The game shifted back in Platteview’s favor in the fourth as the Wolves had no answer defensively. The Trojans hit seven of their first eight shots and used a 10-0 run to take a 65-58 lead with three minutes to play, and Elkhorn North ran out of time. Platteview won the fourth quarter 27-11.

Live by the 3, Die by the 3

Both teams were very efficient inside the arc. Platteview shot 15-of-26 (57.7%) while Elkhorn North shot 16-of-27 (59.3%). The 3-point line proved to be the difference as neither team is shy about letting it fly.

Platteview shot 13-of-29 (44.8%) from deep with all six players that saw significant playing time hitting at least one.

Junior Alex Draper is Platteview’s second-leading returning scorer after shooting 42% as a sophomore. He hit his first triple of the game, but then went ice cold after that, missing his next seven 3-point attempts. However, he stepped up when his team needed him in the fourth quarter and went 3-for-4 from deep to finish with 14 points.

Junior Cale Wichman knocked down both his 3-point attempts to provide a spark off the bench as well.

On the other end, Elkhorn North shot just 7-of-24 from deep (29.2%) including 1-of-6 in the fourth quarter, and the one make came after the game had already been decided. Elkhorn North’s seven-point edge at the free-throw line wasn’t enough to offset the 18 extra points the Trojans scored from the arc.

Welcome Back, High School Hoops

I’m as big of a hoops junkie as you’ll ever meet, and it felt great to be back in a gym on Thursday. The game in Springfield certainly was fun and featured some big performances, but there were plenty of thrilling games on night one of the season throughout the state.

The other game I considered covering, Lincoln East at Elkhorn South, went down to the final seconds as East junior Carter Tempelmeyer took it to the rim and floated it in with two seconds left to break a 60-all tie and lift the Spartans to victory (full disclosure: I’ve coached Tempelmeyer the last two summers and I’ll just say I’m not the least bit surprised).

There was another game-winner out in Grand Island as the visiting Creighton Prep Junior Jays from Omaha forced a turnover in a tie game that led to a run-out layup at the buzzer for Martel Evans, who I highlighted as a breakout candidate in my season preview. Evans led Prep with 21 in the win, while Virginia pledge Isaac Traudt opened his senior season with a 34-point outing.

Earlier in the day on Thursday, Gretna mounted a fierce fourth-quarter comeback to to knock off Omaha South in overtime in a battle of teams I thought had a chance to make a big leap this year. The young Dragons outscored the Packers 23-9 in the fourth quarter then won the overtime period 8-3 fro the 73-68 win.

If night one provided all of that and more, I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season will bring.

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