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.
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.
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.
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.
"ONE-HAND SLAM BY LUCAS VOGT!!!"
? Cale K & @kalem_jackson
? Zeena V@BRLDWolverines #nebpreps #strivschools #strivsports pic.twitter.com/RbA9IH4Dzj
— Marcus Scheer (@marcus_scheer) March 11, 2021
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.