The final six teams cut down the nets at the Nebraska girls and boys state basketball tournament on Saturday as the six days of tournament action finally reached its end.
The first session at Pinnacle Bank Arena featured the Class D1 girls, Class C1 boys and Class B girls.
CLASS D1 GIRLS: No. 3 Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family 42, No. 4 Shelton 34
Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family opened up a double-digit lead with an extended first half run and then defended well enough in the second half to secure the school’s second state title in as many days.
The Bulldog boys won the Class C2 championship on Friday.
“It definitely motivated us because it’s never been done in our school history, where boys and girls and both won it,” senior Addison Schneider said. “Knowing the atmosphere that was yesterday, this is going to be fun to play in and I think it was motivating seeing all the boys when they came back to hotel, and they were all pumped up and excited. We wanted that feeling too, because we got a little taste of it watching the game, but it wasn’t quite the full thing playing. But now we’ve definitely felt it and it’s a great feeling.”
Schneider (12 points, 14 rebounds) and Lexi Frauendorfer (10 points, 11 rebounds) both recorded double-doubles as the Humphrey Bulldogs outscored the Shelton Bulldogs 17-4 in second-chance points. Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family shot just 32.4% from the field and turned the ball over 23 times but held Shelton to 21.7% shooting.
“Rebounding is one of our keys because I think Shelton is actually a pretty good rebounding team,” Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family coach Kandee Hanzel said. “We average probably about 40, 50 rebounds a game. So being at that spot is nothing unusual for us. Lexi, however, you would not think that walking on the court that she was a rebounder from her size, but her grit and just her ability to get in position, it says a lot.”
Makenna Willis and Halie Clark led Shelton with eight points apiece.
After going back and forth for much of the first quarter, Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family took control late in the first quarter and then dominated throughout the second. The Humphrey Bulldogs outscored Shelton 19-2 to pull ahead by 14 before a Shelton free throw made the halftime score 28-15.
Shelton shot 1-of-9 from the field and turned the ball over four times in the second quarter. They made just four field goals and turned the ball over eight times int he first half.
“Defense,” Hanzel said. “I thought we did a good job of keeping [Willis] away from the hoop, forcing her to shoot outside and pass it off. But I credit just their defensive hustle.”
Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family didn’t shoot the ball particular well either and also turned it over eight times, but the Bulldogs dominated the offensive glass for a 13-1 edge in second-chance points. Schneider nearly put ups. double-double in the first half with eight points and nine boards.
Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family extended its lead to 16 at 31-15 as Shelton’s field goal drought nearly reached nine minutes dating back to the second quarter. Mayte Meza finally got layup to go down and Dru Neimack followed with one of her own after a steal, triggering a 9-2 close to the third quarter.
The Humphrey Bulldogs scored just two buckets in the third while turning the ball over nine times.
Turnovers and shooting woes continued for both teams in the fourth quarter as they played nearly five minutes of scoreless basketball before Schneider rebounded a missed free throw from a teammate and got fouled herself, hitting both free throws for the first points of the period at the 3:21 mark to push the lead back to 11.
Halie Clark hit a 3 40 seconds later for the first field goal of the fourth, but eight points was as close as Shelton would get the rest of the way.
Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family did not hit a field goal in the last 11:39 of game time and shot just 9-of-16 at the foul line, but Shelton couldn’t capitalize.
No. 3 Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family: 14-14- 5- 9 — 42
No. 4 Shelton: 12- 3- 9-10 — 34
HLHF: Addison Schneider 12, Lexi Frauendorfer 10, Paige Beller 9, Halle Beller 5, Claire Korth 5, Alisha Dahlberg 1
S: Makenna Willis 8, Halie Clark 8, Emmily Berglund 6, Dru Niemack 6, Mayte Meza 4, Brianna Simmons 2
CLASS C1 BOYS: No. 2 Ashland-Greenwood 36, No. 4 Auburn 33
Evan Shepard hadn’t made a 3 since the first quarter of Ashland-Greenwood’s semifinal win over Kearney Catholic. He was 0-4 on Saturday heading into the final possession.
Yet with a state title on the line, Bluejay star Cale Jacobsen trusted his fellow senior and Shepard delivered as the Bluejays dethroned the three-time reigning C1 champions at the buzzer to win their first state title.
Jacobsen said bringing Ashland-Greenwood its first state title means “everything.”
“It’s really special and we’re all just glad we can be a part of it,” Jacobsen said. “It was super fun year, super good group of guys, so we’re honored to be part of it.”
With the game tied at 33-33 and less than 30 seconds remaining after a missed Auburn free throw, Ashland-Greenwood coach Jacob Mohs decided against calling a timeout. Jacobsen took the ball down the court, sized up the defense, used a ball screen then turned the corner and got downhill.
An Auburn defender helped off Shepard in the corner to cut off Jacobsen’s drive and the senior kicked it to the corner where Shepard let it fly for a swish as time expired.
Tie ball game, Cale Jacobsen drew the help and kicked it to Evan Shepard in the corner. Ball game.
— Jacob Padilla (@JacobPadilla_) March 12, 2022
“I saw him there as I came off the ball screen to the left and I knew that if I couldn’t get downhill to the rim it was an easy kick-out and I knew it was going to go in,” Jacobsen said. “I just had that confidence in him. So once I got the D to collapse, it was a no brainer to kick it out. It looked good off the hand, I think we all can say that. And right away I knew it was in, he knew it was in so it was in, so it was a pretty cool moment.”
After setting a Class C1 single-game tournament scoring record with 43 points in semifinals, Jacobsen finished with 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Before Saturday, the Bluejays hadn’t scored less than 57 points in a game.
“You’ve got to give credit to Auburn,” Jacobsen said. “They’re well coached, they had a really good plan and they play hard defensively. But I think it just shows that we can win in a lot of different ways and we kind of knew that going in. We knew it probably wasn’t going to be in the 60s so we knew we were going to have to battle and fight. I think we did a pretty good job of that.”
Skylar Roybal led Auburn with 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting and seven rebound, but the rest of the Bulldogs combined for just eight buckets.
Ashland-Greenwood never led in the first three quarters, and they misfired on their first nine 3-point attempts of the game. One minute into the fourth quarter, junior Brooks Kissinger stole the ball and drew a foul, hitting both free throws to tie the game up at 24-all. After a stop, the ball found sophomore Dane Jacobsen on the wing and he made the Bulldogs pay for leaving him open, giving Ashland-Greenwood its first lead of the game.
Cougar Konzem and Cale Jacobsen added buckets to make it a 9-0 run and a seven-point lead for the Bluejays. Skylar Roybal and Cale Jacobsen traded buckets to make it 33-26 with just over three minutes to go.
Ryan Binder scored at the rim to cut it to five, then the Bluejays had a layup rim out. The Bulldogs nearly turned it back over thanks to a Cale Jacobsen deflection, but Auburn recovered the ball and got it to Man Binder on the wing for a 3 that made it a one-possession game with just under two minutes to play.
Ashland-Greenwood looked to run clock after that but turned it back over on an offensive foul call with 1:05 to play. Ryan Binder took advantage of the extra possession and finished through contact to tie it up, but he missed the fire throw, setting up Ashland-Greenwood’s game-winner, capping an incredible Class C1 boys tournament.
“We wanted to make a run early in the third quarter there, trying to get back in the game and kind of see where it would take us and I thought our guys did a great job of that in the second half,” Mohs said. “We were able to hit a big 3, get some momentum and some energy and then get some stops from there on out. The last two minutes until the final shot probably wasn’t the way we wanted it to go, but you know, sometimes it’s when you make the shots, not how many.”
Ashland-Greenwood: 8- 4-10-14 — 36
Auburn: 10- 6- 8- 9 — 33
AG: Cale Jacobsen 12, Brooks Kissinger 8, Dane Jacobsen 7, Cougar Konzem 2
A: Skylar Roybal 15, Ryan Binder 8, Marcus Hudson 5, Mav Binder 3, Nixon Ligouri 2
CLASS B GIRLS: No. 1 Elkhorn North 49, No. 2 Omaha Skutt 36
Make it two-for-two.
The Elkhorn North wolves won the season rubber-match with Omaha Skutt on Saturday to win its second straight Class B title. After each of the first two meetings ended in the 60s, round three proved to be all about defense.
“It was definitely a defensive battle, a little bit different than the game we played against them a few weeks ago in the sub-district,” Elkhorn North coach Ann Prince said. “That game really showcased our offense. Today, I guess, we showcased our defensive ability. We did make some good adjustments from that game to this one defensively, so I was really proud of that.”
Each team lost just once this season before Saturday — to each other. Elkhorn North finished the season 26-1, Skutt 26-2.
The Wolves held the SkyHawks to 31.1% shooting including 2-of-12 from deep after the SkyHawks shot a blistering of 12-of-18 from 3 in their sub-district meeting.
“I thought our defense was tremendous and we’ve kind of got our girls to buy into the fact that you’re going to win games, especially at the end of the year, with defense and rebounding,” Ann Prince said. “A lot of people like talking about our offense and we do have a good offense when we’re on, but really our defense has been steady.”
Elkhorn North didn’t fare much better, shooting just 40% including 3-of-14 from 3, but the Wolves more than doubled up the SkyHawks in free throws. Sophomore star Britt Prince finished with 21 points, seven assists, six rebounds and two steals to lead the way for the Wolves. Hannah Nadgwick and Grace Thompson were the primary beneficiaries of Prince’s playmaking, combining for 19 points.
“She’s so tough to guard,” Skutt coach Kip Colony said of Prince. “We tried to throw different mixes, we threw out a couple different zone presses, man press, came back a couple times to zone and then when they went to zone offense, we quickly switched back to man defense, so we’re just trying to keep them guessing as to what we wanted to do, which helped … But what do you say about Britt Prince that hasn’t been said already? She’s just a tremendous athlete. Today she did a really nice job getting down to the paint and then kicking it out and kicking it down on back-cuts.”
The game was a struggle for both offenses early, but Prince hit a step-back 3 at the buzzer to give the Wolves an 8-5 lead at the end of the first. Prince opened the second quarter with a personal 7-2 run to stretch the lead to eight three minuets in.
“I knew that I needed to be a little bit more aggressive, try and get to the rim, get to my shot and things were kind of opening up a little bit,” Prince said. “I felt a little more in rhythm after the first quarter.”
The Wolves went cold after that and didn’t score again until the final second as Nadgwick rebounded a miss and put it back in to make it 17-10 Wolves at halftime,
Seven points was as close as Skutt got in the second half. After opening the period with a 3, Prince assisted Elkhorn North’s other three buckets in the period as the lead grew to 13. Skutt sophomore Peyton McCabe found Jesse Trout in the corner for a 3 — Skutt’s first of the game — then scored herself to make it an eight-point game going into the fourth.
However, Prince opened the fourth with a steal and score then set up Thompson and Reilly Palmer for buckets to stretch the lead to 14 and the Wolves cruised form there.
The Wolves didn’t have any seniors when they won it all last season, but Theis year they’ll be losing three seniors including two starters in Palmer and Molly Bruggeman, and those two got to cut the nets down after the game.
“We definitely wanted to give them the nets and we played this whole season for them and they deserve it,” Britt Prince said. “They’re great people, great leaders. They’ve had to lead the past two years and they’ve just done a tremendous job. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to lead us.”
Elkhorn North: 8- 9-10-22 — 49
Omaha Skutt: 5- 5- 9-17 — 36
EN: Britt Prince 21, Hannah Nadgwick 10, Grace Thompson 9, Reese Booth 4, Reilly Palmer 3, Molly Bruggeman 2
OS: Peyton McCabe 13, Addison Burt 9, Victoria Van Dyke 4, Julia Connealy 3, Jesse Trout 3, Libby Shotkoski 2, Mia McMahon 1, Kam Kasner 1
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.