The 2021 girls state basketball tournament tipped-off on Tuesday. The five-day tournament run got started with two Class B quarterfinal games and all four of the Class A quarterfinals.
Lincoln Pius X 40, Millard North 20
The first Class A semfinal wasn’t not a beauty contest. Top-ranked Lincoln Pius and Millard North combined 24 turnovers in the first half and just 30 shot attempts in the first half with the Thunderbolts holding a 19-12 lead and leading scorer Alexis Markowski held to just five first half points.
But, Pius continued to maintain their edge in the second half as they pulled away for the 20-point win and their third straight trip the Class A semifinals. Markowski had a game-high 14 points and 13 rebounds. The Mustangs — the Class A wild card — finished the season 14-10. Pius will play Omaha Central in Friday’s 6:15 p.m. semifinal.
Omaha Central 54, Lincoln Southwest 48
After trailing 26-18 at halftime, Lincoln Southwest tied Omaha Central at 34 with a little over a minute left in the third quarter, but that’s when Central junior Aaniya Webb took over.
Webb, who came in averaging 15 points per game, responded by drilling a 3-pointer to give her team a 37-34 lead heading in to the fourth. She kept the pedal on the gas in the final eight minutes, scoring 12 of her 17 points.
Southwest didn’t have an answer for Webb — or junior Aniah Wayne for that matter, who scored a game-high 19 points and hit four 3s in the first half — as Central held off the SilverHawks in the final moments.
Southwest’s Kate Dilsaver scored 14 points while Kennadi Williams added 10.
Central advances to the Class A semifinal against Lincoln Pius X on Friday at 6:15 p.m.
Millard South 62, Lincoln East 51
The Patriots got 56 points from the trio of Cora Olson (20), Mya Babbitt (19) and Khloe Lemon (17) in their 11-point win over the Spartans. The Patriots advanced to 24-1 with the win.
The game was tied 10-10 at the end of the first quarter, but Millard South was able to force the tempo in the second quarter and built their lead to 31-20 at the half, while keeping their distance in the second half.
The Spartans got 16 points from Madalyn Campbell and 12 from Haley Peterson while finishing the season 13-10.
Fremont 72, North Platte 37
Not much was getting in the way of the Fremont Tigers and the Class A semifinals in the last game of the day at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Tuesday, especially not the North Platte Bulldogs.
Fremont’s all-everything junior guard Taylor McCabe, an Iowa basketball commit, scored a game-high 23 points and made five 3s for the Tigers, who improved to 22-3 on the season.
Charli Earth added 16 points for Fremont while Sarah Shepard chipped in with 11. The Tigers led 20-11 after the first quarter but outscored North Platte 23-8 in the second to grab a 43-19 halftime edge.
Fremont will play Millard South on Friday at 8:30 p.m.
Norris 62, Bennington 41
The top-ranked Titans were hot from the start in their opening round win.
Norris senior Madi Collier connected on two of the Titans five, first quarter 3-pointers as they jumped out to an early 21-15 lead. Their hot outside shooting continued in the second quarter. Ella Waters, Molly Ramsey and Kalli Kroeker joined the 3-point party with makes in the quarter. Ramsey, a senior point guard, dished out six assists in the first half and the Titans took a 38-29 lead into the half.
Norris started the second half on a 9-2 run and finished game with 12 made 3-pointers. Collier and Kroeker led the Titans balanced scoring effort with 11 points each.
Bennington was led by junior post Emma John with 14 points and junior guard Abi Boyers added 13 for the Badgers, which finished the season 14-11. Norris, now 21-1, advances to Friday’s 1:30 semifinal at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
York 31, Omaha Skutt Catholic 28
The York Dukes came into the tournament as the No. 5 seed and looked like a No. 1 to start their game with No. 4 Skutt. The Dukes made four 3s and played tough man-to-man defense in the first two quarters, which helped give them take a 19-6 lead at halftime.
York’s Destiny Shepherd — who scored a team-high eight points in the win — scored six in the first half while Mattie Pohl added five, all of which came in the opening quarter.
Skutt came out of the break and made a run to close the gap, however. The SkyHawks outscored York 13-5 in the third to cut their deficit to 24-19 heading into the final eight minutes.
A couple steals by Kaelyn Reeves and Macy Gordon helped Skutt get as close as one point, 29-28, but a key offensive rebound by York junior Masa Scheierman gave the ball back to the Dukes with 14 seconds left, and the Dukes made good on their next two free throws as Maddie Portwine sank both as the Skutt student section chanted “MADDIE.”
Portwine finished with five points while her freshman sister, Kiersten, added six off a couple 3s. Skutt’s Peyton McCabe led the SkyHawks with 12 points while Victoria Van Dyke had six and Cecilia Behrens four.
York advances to the Class B semifinals on Friday at 1:30 p.m. The Dukes will play Norris, which went to York and knocked off the Dukes 49-34 on Jan. 12.