The Nebraska girls state basketball tournament tipped off at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Tuesday with Class A and B quarterfinals and Hail Varsity was there to bring you coverage of all the action.
No. 1 Norris 62, No. 8 Bennington 41
The top-seeded Titans looked down on defense in the second half and rained 3s all game to secure a 21-point victory and advance to the semifinals.
Kalli Kroeker and Maddy Collier led Titans with 11 points apiece and Kroeker added eight rebounds. Point guard Molly Ramsey did a bit of everything with eight points, six assists and four steals.
Emma John led Bennington with 14 points, nine rebounds and three steals while Abby Boyres chipped in 10 points and five boards.
Norris hit five of its first nine 3-pointers and raced out to a 19-10 lead late in the first quarter. The Badgers battled back to make it 21-15 at the end of the period and cut the deficit down to two midway through the second, but Norris took control from there.
The Titans scored the last seven points of the first half an the first five of the second half to take a 43-29 lead. Mazzi Melton ended the 12-0 run with a three-point play, but Norris scored the next four points to pull ahead by 15 as the Badgers missed 10 of their first 11 shots of the second half.
Norris continued to pull away down the stretch, holding Bennington to four points in the fourth quarter and 12 in the second half.
Norris hit 12 3s with seven different Titans connecting from deep at least once. Bennington only made four 3s and shot under 30% from the field.
Bennington: 15-14- 8-4—41
N: Maddy Collier 11, Kalli Kroeker 11, Molly Ramsey 8, Delaney White 8, Brianna Stai 8, Gracie Kircher 8, Ella Waters 5, Camee Brown 3
B: Emma John 14, Abby Boyes 10, Maddy Elwood 7, Ella Reinohl 3, Mazzi Melton 3, Taylor Sedlacek 2, Alison Mack 2
No. 5 York 31, No. 4 Omaha Skutt 28
The SkyHawks had a couple chances to tie the game in the final 30 seconds after a furious fourth-quarter rally, but the Dukes held on to advance to the semifinals thanks to some stifling defense.
York shot 6-of-18 from, which is a better percentage than either team shot from the field and was just enough to keep the Dukes in the lead. Destiny Shepherd led York with eight points. Peyton McCabe led all scorers with 10 points for Skutt but the sharpshooter only got two 3-pointers to fall.
Lindsay Krause, the 6-foot-4 Nebraska volleyball signee who missed the last month of the season with a knee injury, suited up and went through warm-ups but was not able to play. She averaged a double-double and led the SkyHawks to a 15-1 record while she was healthy.
“It was super special to come back out and play this last senior season,” Krause told Hail Varsity. “I loved every second of it and even though my career has ended my first love was always basketball and it will forever be special to me. We had a very memorable senior class and it was so great to play with them, and coming back we have some exceptional players so i’m super excited to see what they do.”
The Dukes jumped out to a 12-3 start before a Peyton McCabe 3 late in the first quarter. York buckled down even further from there, holding Skutt scoreless from the second quarter on 0-for-10 shooting.
Maddie Portwine opened the third quarter with a 3, but the SkyHawks finally got going with a 15-2 run that cut the deficit to three early in the fourth. Skutt kept chipping away until they earned a chance to tie the game the game at the foul line with 28.9 to play. Cece Behrens hit the front end of the bonus, but after a York timeout she couldn’t get the second to fall.
Skutt sent Mattie Pohl to the line and she missed the first shot, but Masa Scheierman grabbed the board and got it to Portwine who hit two shots to put York up with 11 seconds to go and the SkyHawks didn’t even get a real shot attempt off, throwing up a prayer at the buzzer.
Scheierman only had two points, but they came in the fourth quarter when York needed them and she also grabbed 10 boards and blocked three shots.
Omaha Skutt: 6-0-13-9—28
York: 13-6- 5-7—31
OS: Peyton McCabe 10, Victoria Van Dyke 6, Cece Behrens 4, Addison Burt 4, Macy Gordon 2, Alexa Rose 2
Y: Destiny Shepherd 8, Kiersten Portwine 6, Maddie Portwine 5, Mattie Pohl 5, Meaghan Rowe 3, Masa Scheierman 2, Rylyn Cast 2
No. 2 Elkhorn North 35, No. 7 Omaha Gross 28
Elkhorn North freshman star Britt Prince hit her first shot, a 3 from the top of the key against Gross’ 2-3 zone. She didn’t connect from the field again the rest of the game, but Hannah Nadgwick picked up the slack inside and the Wolves locked down on defense in the fourth quarter to punch their ticket to the semifinals.
Gross’ active defense caused Elkhorn North problems, but the Wolves still managed to take an 11-6 lead into the second quarter by holding the Cougars to just two field goals and one trip to the foul line.
Jenna Skradski got going in the second, scoring seven points in the period as Gross cut the deficit to one at one point, but Elkhorn North led 20-17 at halftime.
Gross held Elkhorn North without a field goal in the third quarter as the Cougars outscored the Wolves 9-2. Senior guard Rachel Culhane scored six of those points including a layup with a couple seconds to go that gave Gross a 26-22 lead.
The Cougar lead didn’t last long, however, as Elkhorn North opens the fourth with a 9-0 run to take a 31-26 lead and then salted the game away with a couple of trips to the free-throw line. After going scoreless in the second and third quarters, Prince fed Nadgwick for buckets three times during that run and tacked on two free throws at the end for good measure.
Nadgwick had a double-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks and she helped limit Gross’ leading scorer, Theo Mba, to two points. Prince grabbed 11 rebounds, dished out four assists and notched two steals and a block to go with her seven points.
Elkhorn North: 11- 9- 2-13—35
Omaha Gross: 6-11- 9- 2—28
EN: Reilly Palmer 11, Hannah Nadgwick 11, Britt Prince 7, Molly Bruggeman 3, Grace Thompson 2, Reese Booth 1
OG: Rachel Culhane 12, Jenna Skradski 7, Sydney Herren 5, Jordan Skradski 2, Theo Mba 2
No. 6 Scottsbluff 34, No. 3 Crete 20
Scottsbluff got going in the second half after a tough first 16 minutes for both teams and the Bearcats closed the game on a 12-0 run to knock off the Cardinals.
The teams shot a combined 4-of-45 from the field (no typo) as Scottsbluff won the second quarter 2-0 to take a 9-8 lead at halftime. After Crete tied the game at 11-11 early in the third, Scottsbluff used a 9-2 run to take a 20-13 lead into the final quarter.
Crete made a push early in the fourth, cutting the deficit to one possession at 22-20, but Izzy Wright answered with a 3-pointer (just the second of the game for the Bearcats), sparking a run, and Crete didn’t score again.
The Bearcats shot 50% from the field in the second half after making two field goals in the first. Crete continued to struggle and barely cleared 14% shooting for the game.
Scottsbluff sophomore forward Sabrina Harsh dominated on both ends, finishing with 17 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks.
Crete: 8- 0- 5- 7—20
Scottsbluff: 7- 2-11-14—34
C: Hannah Newton 5, Leah Jurgens 5, Aexis Mach 4, Brooke Deisley 3, Marli Stones 2, Marin Rasgorshek 1
S: Sabrina Harsh 17, Izzy Wright 7, Mariyah Avila 5, Cali Wright 3, Emma Foote 2
No. 1 Lincoln Pius X 40, No. 8 Millard North 20
Coach Chris Paulson’s game plan was to limit possessions and make Lincoln Pius X work for every bucket and stop, and the Mustangs did a good job of executing it for three quarters, but Pius banked the Mustangs int he fourth and pulled away to advance to the semis.
Millard North’s size with 6-foot-4 center Sidney Anderson coming off the bench caused Pius problems as Anderson held her own against Nebraska signee Alexis Markowski for stretches. Anderson had two blocks, a steal and grabbed for offensive rebounds before fouling out in the fourth.
Millard North only trailed by one after the first quarter and by seven heading into the fourth, but the Thunderbolts outscored the Mustangs 13-0 in the fourth as Millard North shot 0-for-9 from the field and 0-for-4 from the foul line.
Markowski was the only player in double figures for either team, finishing with 14 points and 13 rebounds (five offensive). The Thunderbolts held the Mustangs to 8-of-28 form the field and forced 22 turnovers.
Lincoln Pius X: 8-11-8-13—40
Millard North: 7- 5-8- 0—20
LPX: Alexis Markowski 14, Miriam Miller 8, Charlee Hagedorn 8, Jillian Aschoff 5, Adison Markowski 5
MN: Kayla Preston 4, Ever Loveridge 4, Darian Winkelbauer 3, Megan Chambers 3, Sidney Anderson 3, Ally Stalzer 2, Kaylee Kessler 1
No. 5 Omaha Central 54, No. 4 Lincoln Southwest 50
The 4-5 match-up proved to be the most competitive of the Class A quarters, even though it didn’t look that way early. Central led most of the way, Lincoln Southwest rallied in the second half, the teams traded blows in the fourth quarter and the Eagles pulled it out in the end.
Aniah Wayne got off to a hot start, scoring 14 of her game-high 19 points in the first half. She shot 7-of-13 from the field including 4-of-8 from deep. Aaniya Webb took over late with 11 of her 17 in the fourth quarter. She shot 6-of-12 from the field including 2-of-4 from 3 and grabbed nine rebounds. Inia Jones, Central’s freshman point guard, made plays throughout, finishing with 10 points, six assists, five rebounds and four steals.
Central led 20-11 after the first quarter, then opened the second half with a 6-1 run to pull ahead 32-19. The Silver Hawks didn’t roll over, however, furiously rallying to time the game up at 34-all late in the third quarter before Webb hit a 3 to give the Eagles the leading heading into the fourth.
Kate Dilsaver opened the fourth with a three-point plait tie it up and the teams traded buckets from there as the lead exchanged hands six times. Central finally delivered the knockout blow with an 8-1 run that made it a six-point game and the Eagles held on from there. Webb and Jones combined to score all 17 of Centrals fourth-quarter points.
Dilsaver led the Silver Hawks with 14 points and five rebounds. Freshman Kennadi Williams, Nebraska women’s basketball coach Amy Williams’ daughter, added 10 points and hit a key 3 in the fourth quarter that gave the Silver Hawks. Their first lead at 41-40.
No. 2 Millard South 62, No. 7 Lincoln East 51
The Patriots went off in the third quarter and the Spartans couldn’t get enough stops in the second half to get back in the game as Millard South knocked off last year’s runner-up.
Both teams got off to a slow start, shooting a combined 7-of-24 from the field in the first quarter. The Patriots finally go going in the second, however, ripping off a 17-5 run to take a 30-18 lead.
Lincoln East cut that deficit in half midway through the third, but Millard South closed the quarter strong to take a 49-40 lead and the Patriots opened the fourth with a 9-0 run to blow the game wide open and cruise into the next round.
Millard South was without one of its normal starters as sophomore Juliana Jones was out with an injury, but the other four regular starters picked up the slack, combing to score all 62 points.
Cora Olsen led all scorers with 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds. Mya Babbitt added 19 points on 6-of-11 form the field and 5-of-6 for the free-throw line. Khloe Lemon chipped in 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Despite the 3-for-12 effort in the first quarter, the Patriots shot better than 50% from the field for he game.
Matalynn Campbell led the Spartans with 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting, 11 rebounds, three assists and three steals. Haley Peterson as in double figures as well with 12 points and she also dished out four assists.
Millard South: 9-21-19-13—62
Lincoln East: 10-10-20-11—51
MS: Cora Olsen 20, Mya Babbitt 19, Khloe Lemon 17, Megan Belt 6
LE: Matalynn Campbell 16, Haley Peterson 12, Olivia Kugler 9, Lillie Shaw 9, Keatyn Musiel 3, Ella Laessig 2
Lincoln Southwest: 11- 7-16-16—50
Omaha Central: 20- 6-11-17—54
LSW: Kate Dilsaver 14, Kennadi Williams 10, Skylar Pieper 7, Taryn Ling 7, Freddie Wallace 6, Riley Wells 2, Katie Carpenter 2, Brinly Christensen 2
OC: Aniah Wayne 19, Aaniya Webb 17, Inia Jones 10, Nyanuar Pal 4, Ital Lopuyo 4
No. 3 Fremont 72, No. 6 North Platte 37
The Tigers had far too much firepower for the Bulldogs to keep up with as Fremont nearly doubled up North Platte to close out day one of the 2021 state tournament.
Taylor McCabe and Charli Earth outscored North Platte by themselves as only three Bulldogs found the scoring column. McCabe, a 2022 Iowa commit, finished with 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting (5-of-9 from 3) and 2-of-2 from the free-throw line with four assists and four steals. Senior Earth added 16 points and five rebounds.
Senior Gracie Haneborg led North Platte with 16 points and seven rebounds while sophomore forward Carlee Purdy recorded a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
McCabe scored nine points in the first quarter as Fremont took a 20-11 lead, and that was the closest the Bulldogs would be the rest of the game. Fremont kept pulling away, triggering running clock late in the third quarter.
Fremont scored 20-plus in each of the first three quarters before getting their reserves some playing time in the fourth quarter.
Fremont: 20-23-22- 7—72
North Platte: 11- 8- 8-10—37
F: Taylor McCabe 23, Charli Earth 16, Sarah Shepherd 11, Bella Keaton 8, Macy Bryant 6, Emmalee Shepherd 3, Maggie McClain 3, McKenna Murphy 2
NP: Gracie Haneborg 16, Carlee Purdy 10, Clancy Brown 9