Inside the Matchups: Thursday’s State Boys Basketball Semifinals


Thursday’s semifinals of the boys’ state basketball tournament are set for Classes C-2 through D-2 at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Here are the breakdowns for each game, beginning with the earliest contest to the latest.

Class D-2
St. Mary’s (23-2) vs. Parkview Christian (26-1) at 9 a.m.
The top-seeded St. Mary’s Cardinals got past No. 8 Osceola 62-50 in their quarterfinal behind a game-high 21 points from junior guard Aidan Hedstrom, who came into the tournament averaging 24.

St. Mary’s led 36-28 at the end of the third, but the Cardinals controlled the final eight minutes by outscoring Osceola 26-22 in a high-scoring fourth.

St. Mary’s draws an opponent that doesn’t have a problem scoring in the No. 4 Parkview Christian Patriots, who defeated Loomis 71-54 in its quarterfinal.
Three Patriots scored in double-digits against Loomis, including Mark Lual (game-high 22), Michael Ault (17) and Jaheim Curry (15). Parkview led 41-27 at half and defended well enough to hold Loomis at bay in the second half.

Falls City Sacred Heart (18-7) vs. Humphrey St. Francis (21-4) at 11:15 a.m.
Things didn’t look great for the defending Class D-2 state champ Falls City Sacred Heart Irish at halftime on Wednesday. They trailed No. 2 Mullen by 11 points, but it was a second half to remember as No. 7 Sacred Heart rallied all the way back to earn a 49-47 upset win to advance to the semifinals.

Sacred Heart outscored Mullen 13-7 in the fourth and got three points from Evan Keithley, Jack Fiegener and Brogan Nachtigal, as well as two from both Jakob Jordan (the game winner) and Jake Froeschl. Froeschl scored a team-high 14 points while Fiegener added 13 for head coach Doug Goltz’s team.

Sacred Heart will play the team it beat in last year’s championship on Thursday — the No. 3 Humphrey St. Francis Flyers.

St. Francis beat No. 6 Wynot 49-41 in its quarterfinal. The Flyers held a slight 31-26 lead at the end of the third, but went on an 14-0 run in the fourth to extend their edge. Tanner Pfeifer led St. Francis with 18 points while Justin Leifeld added 15.

Falls City Sacred Heart’s Jacob Froeschl drives to the basket against Mullen on Wednesday.

Class D-1
Burwell (25-0) vs. Howells-Dodge (19-8) at 1:30 p.m.
The unbeaten streak continued for the No. 1 seed Burwell Longhorns as they beat No. 8 Central Valley 53-45. Burwell, which was runner-up in football this past fall, got 18 points from Dillon Critel. Critel helped seal the win in the fourth by going 7-of-8 at the free-throw line. Devin Konicek and Carter Mann chipped in with 13 and 10 points, respectively.

Head coach Kevin Janata’s No. 4 Howells-Dodge Jaguars advanced past No. 5 Walthill with a 68-49 win. Burwell will need to try to limit the Jags’ top two players in Blake Sindelar and RJ Bayer — Sindelar scored a game-high 30 points against Walthill while Bayer was right behind him with 23.

Sindelar and Bayer do most of their damage near the hoop — Howells-Dodge didn’t make a 3-pointer in their quarterfinal win. Burwell made five shots behind the arc in its win. These two schools also met in the round of 16 in the football playoffs.

Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family (21-5) vs. North Platte St. Patrick’s (22-5) vs. at 4 p.m.
The No. 2 Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family Bulldogs avenged their state semifinal loss to Southern Valley from last year, beating the No. 7 Eagles 49-43 this time around.

Jason and Jacob Sjuts, as well as Ethan Keller, played big roles in the Bulldogs’ win as Jason netted a game-high 17 points while Jacob added 14 and Keller 12.

No. 3 North Platte St. Pat’s got a game-high 27 points from Jack Heiss, who drilled fourth 3s in the Irish’s 59-47 win over Ansley-Litchfield. St. Pat’s Corby Condon chipped in with 11 points to help lead the Irish.

Class C-2
Grand Island Central Catholic (23-4) vs. Hartington Cedar Catholic (20-6) at 6:15 p.m.
The No. 1-seeded GICC Crusaders were runner-ups last year and want to get back to the state championship — now they’re one step closer to that goal after ousting No. 8 Tri County 58-29.

The Crusaders’ defense may have been the star of the game for the job it did on Tri County star Cole Siems. Siems, the school’s all-time leader in scoring, came into the tournament averaging a team-best 16.5 points per game. But on Wednesday, Siems was held to just eight as GICC ran away with the 29-point win.

Offensively, GICC had three players score in double-digits as Gil Jengmer led the team with 13 points while Koby Bales and Dei Jangmer each poured in 10.

As for the No. 5 Hartington Cedar Catholic Trojans, they snuck by No. 4 Freeman with a tight 40-37 come-from-behind win. Hartington trailed 32-26 heading into the fourth, but wound up outscoring Freeman 14-5 in the last quarter to seal the win.

Myles Thoene, who came into the tournament averaging 14.3 points per game, scored eight of his team-high 12 points in the fourth to help lead the Trojans to the victory. His 3 with just over a minute left in the game gave Hartington a 38-37 lead it never gave up. He was the only Trojan who scored in double figures, but head coach Matt Steffen’s team still got the win.

Yutan (23-2) vs. Bancroft-Rosalie/Lyons-Decatur (19-4) at 8:30 p.m.
The No. 2 seed Yutan Chieftains easily got past the No. 7 Chase County Longhorns 63-43 in their quarterfinal.

Yutan star Brady Timm, a Doane University commit, led everyone with 23 points and hit three 3s. Another Chieftain who contributed included Sam Petersen, a junior who netted 16 points. Yutan led 37-27 at the half and outscored the Longhorns 26-16 in the second half.

Yutan draws the two-time defending C-2 state champ BRLD Wolverines, who beat Bridgeport 59-43. The story of the Wolverines’ game may have been all-everything guard Lucas Vogt’s one-handed slam off an ally-oop.

Dylan Beutler had 14 points (and a pretty sweet pass) while Vogt added 12 for BRLD, competing for their third straight Class C-2 crown.

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