Lincoln, Neb. — You don’t have to ask Hastings St. Cecilia do-everything point guard Bailey Kissinger if she wants to be a coach after college, but just to make sure we did anyway late Friday morning.
The answer was her shortest of a four-minute impromptu media session after she led the Hawkettes to a 29-25 root canal kind of win over Lincoln Lutheran in the Class C-1 semifinals.
“Yeah,” she said. Then, a little chuckle.
HSC needed all of Kissinger’s knowledge — a little better defense — to dispose of a gritty Lincoln Lutheran team, her driving layup and two free throws late helping them seal a third straight finals appearance.
Kissinger said that Lutheran’s length and multiple zone looks caused the Hawkettes problems that they had to slow down and solve.
“We just tried to stay a lot more open and available in the high post and in the middle of the floor,” said the Nebraska-Kearney pledge. “Any time we got the ball to the middle it allowed us to break (their pressure) up the sideline.
“They are lengthy and really try to trap a lot, so just trying to find the open person gave us some fits in the first half and I think in the second half we settled down a little bit.”
St. Cecilia did just that.
Now, the Hawkettes get defending Class C-1 champion North Bend Central in tomorrow’s 11:00 a.m final. Need a breakdown?
“A really, really good team. Very tall and athletic,” Kissinger said. “They have a ton of good pieces, I feel like we can match up well with them. I think we have more height in the post, but they have longer players on the wings.
“It will be a good matchup, we are excited.”
No Looking Back
North Bend Central’s miracle district final win over Norfolk Catholic last year, propelled them to a state title run. And, while they don’t focus on it too much, the game still helps them in more ways that one.
And, before playing Winnebago — the 16th seed in the district final round — in Friday’s semifinals, North Bend was sure to at least think about getting an underdogs best effort.
“We don’t talk about it a whole lot,” Tiger coach Aaron Sterup said. “But, we do talk about how fortunate we were (in that game). Last year when it happened we talked about how we were given a gift and we needed to use it.”
“This year, though, we use as that we kind of know that anyone at anytime (can beat you). That could have been today.”
Now, coach Sterup’s team is excited for a shot at their fourth state title in school history.
“They are excited for sure,” he said. “I kind of get the idea they maybe feel a little bit of pressure because they were expected to get here. I hope they enjoy it, but it’s been pretty business-like. I think that’s good, you want them to enjoy themselves but you don’t want them staring at the lights either.”