THE VAULT — Last year, Northwest denied Crete a Class B state championship.
On Friday, Crete’s dramatic nail-biting 48-47 three-overtime win over these same Vikings got them another chance.
How it ended up playing out, is the talk of the internet. And, what we really should do is focus on the teams and the game that was played. Because, man, was it great.
Here’s a (okay this ended up being a not-so) quick run down:
- Both teams came out firing. Northwest led 22-19, two minutes into the second quarter. The teams had combined for eight 3-point baskets. The basketball was fantastic.
- Then, the Vikings went cold. Over the final 5 1/2 minutes of the second quarter, they scored a single free throw. Crete led 31-23 at the break. To make matters worse for the Vikings, the Cardinals scored the first seven points after halftime for a 38-23 lead.
- It looked over. And, then. Northwest — who had been blown out 62-18 the last time the two teams played, found themselves again. They cut the lead 40-32 at the end of the third quarter.
- It looked bleak again for Northwest when Maly scored on the block for a 10-point lead. It was 42-32 with 7:30 left.
- Northwest came back on eight points from Lauren Hauser and some timely stops — the Vikings finally got to Maly. Shanae Suttles tied the game at 42 with a pair of free throws with 2:49 left.
And then the internet threw up…
- Northwest held the ball for the last 90 seconds of regulation, but didn’t get a clean look.
- In the first two overtimes there were no points and — we think — six possessions total. No baskets. No turnovers.
- Crete finally got a stop and a Maly bucket to get a 44-42 lead (they ended up going nearly 16 minutes without a point). The teams played 12 minutes with neither team scoring a basket.
- The Cards sealed when Jayda Weyand made four free throws in the final minute.
It was a fantastic basketball game. Both teams played their hearts out. Even in the times where the game was stalled, fans were on their feet and their was a buzz in Pinnacle Bank Arena. As a Twitter follower dutifully noted out that’s “because it was the semifinals, not because it was good basketball.” That’s a fair point.
It was also two fantastic coaches — John Larsen at Crete and Russ Moerer at Northwest — playing a fantastic game of cat and mouse and chess all at the same time. Who would be the first to blink? The pressure and the magnitude of the moment was simply amazing.
I hope in a few years we all remember that.
Maly’s gutsy 22 points. Brown (19 points) and Hauser (17) keeping Northwest alive. And, Jayda Weyand’s clutch closing free throws that sealed it for Crete.
We were all lucky to be there.
Random Finals Thoughts
Class D-1: Defending champion Archbishop Bergan — despite their 16-9 record isn’t a surprise finalist. They have not lost a D-1 game this year. Neither has Pleasanton which will bring a 27-0 record to the 9:00 AM game. They came back to beat CWC in Friday’s semifinal. Kaci Pierce had 18 points in the win for the Bulldogs.
Class C-1: Old had for Lincoln Christian (the sixth final for coach Nick Orduna’s crew). The Crusaders scorched the nets early against St. Paul and then hung on for a 60-53 win. In the other semifinal, North Bend made one basket from the field, but was 14-for-16 from the free throw line in a 39-31 win over Adams Central.
Class B: Crete gets a chance to avenged their only loss that was to Beatrice in the sub-district final, 39-32. Coach Jalen Weeks crew has been defensive minded in two wins. On Friday, they held Scottsbluff to just 26 points in a 43-26 win.
Class D-2: In this one, you might have the best player in the field (HSF’s Allison Weidner had 39 on Friday against Mullen) and the best program in the field (Wynot has been to nine finals in the past 10 seasons). Do we need to say much else? Wynot split with C-2 finalist Ponca and Humphrey St. Francis.
Class A: That Pius defeated Millard South is not a huge surprise — both teams were 1 and 2 most of the year. It’s how they did it, 71-46, behind 32 points and 18 rebounds from Alexis Markowski. The opponent for Pius is Lincoln East, who put three players in double figures in a 59-50 win over Fremont.
Class C-2: Ponca survived the first half and then pulled away from top-ranked Oakland-Craig in the first semifinal, 53-44. Freshman Ashlyn Kingsbury scored 20 points for Ponca and Kaci Day had 16. The Indians opponent is Hastings St. Cecilia, which held off Crofton 62-60 after building a 36-24 halftime lead. Bailey Kissinger had 20 for the winners.