A strong defensive effort helped the Fort Osage boys basketball team rally from a first-half deficit Tuesday.

The host Indians, who trailed by eight early in the second quarter, outscored Winnetonka 21-13 in the second to grab a 29-24 halftime lead on the way to a 65-53 non-conference victory.

“We were down eight and we got back in it by getting back to solid defense, which made them take some tough shots,” Fort Osage coach Josh Wilson said. “The overall effort I was really proud of.”

Senior Colston Martinez made a difference in a rare start, Wilson said.

“He had an all-out effort tonight,” Wilson said. “Whenever he was on the court, he was all over the place. Even though he only had two points, he really helped us out tonight.”

Braden Pottberg and Eli Parker made back-to-back 3-pointers to start a rally that erased a two-point deficit and put the Indians ahead by six. The Indians pushed the lead to as much as 18 early in the fourth quarter.

Triston Turner scored 15 points, Parker finished with 11 and Xavier Kahube added 10 to lead Fort Osage (4-5).

BLUE SPRINGS 62, PLATTE COUNTY 53: Blue Springs used a strong start and accurate free throw shooting to hold off Platte County in the first round of the Kearney Bulldog Classic Tuesday.

The Wildcats jumped to a 19-8 lead after the first quarter. After Platte County put together a 20-11 run in the third quarter to pull within 45-40, the Wildcats sank all eight of their free throws in the final period to advance to Thursday’s 8 p.m. semifinal against North Kansas City.

“For an after school 3:30 (p.m.) game time in our bracket, we did a really good job getting ourselves off the bus and starting hot in the first quarter,” Blue Springs coach Adam Jones said. “Platte County shot it well in the third and fourth quarters to cut our lead to one late in the game. But we were able to make some free throws down the stretch and hold them off. Our kids were frustrated with the way they defended in the second half. We’ll have to do better on Thursday versus a good North Kansas City team.”

Braden Appelhans scored 19 points, Ikenna Ezeogu added 14, Cooper Willich had 13 and Kyle Bruce had eight, including 4 of 4 on free throws in the fourth quarter.

The Wildcats (7-4) finished 13 of 16 from the line.

GRAIN VALLEY 66, CLINTON 39: Grain Valley raced to a big first-half lead and never looked back in a rout of Clinton in the first round of the Pleasant Hill Invitational Tuesday.

The Eagles (9-3) extended a 16-10 first quarter lead to 33-18 by halftime to advance to Wednesday’s 6 p.m. semifinal against Pembroke Hill or Pleasant Hill.

A.J. Salisbury led the way for Grain Valley, totaling 17 points, nine rebounds and five steals. Josh Kilpatrick added 14 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and two steals, Caden Matlon had 14 points and Seth Dankenbring and Ethan Woodrome each chipped in six points.

Girls

VAN HORN 59, WINNETONKA 53: Van Horn used a strong night at the free throw line to hold off host Winnetonka Tuesday for its fourth straight victory.

The Falcons led 34-28 at halftime but the Griffins cut that advantage to 45-44 by the end of the third quarter. The Falcons used a 14-9 advantage in the final period to hang on.

Lexi Robinson and Daisy Washington combined to shoot 13 of 15 from the line as the Falcons were 14 of 18 for the game. Robinson (8 of 9) finished with 24 points while Washington (5 of 6) had 18. Erika Parrish added eight points.