GIRLS PREP BASKETBALL=
NSAA State Championship=
Lincoln East 59, Fremont 50
Lincoln Pius X 71, Millard South 46
Beatrice 43, Scottsbluff 26
Crete 48, Grand Island Northwest 47, 3OT
Lincoln Christian 68, St. Paul 59
North Bend Central 39, Adams Central 31
Hastings St. Cecilia 62, Crofton 60
Ponca 53, Oakland-Craig 44
Archbishop Bergan 40, Hartington Cedar Catholic 34
Pleasanton 50, CWC 46
Humphrey St. Francis 68, Mullen 38
Wynot 37, Falls City Sacred Heart 27
GIRLS PREP BASKETBALL=
NSAA State Championship=
Fremont 58, Omaha Westside 40
Lincoln East 50, Papillion-LaVista 30
Lincoln Pius X 60, North Platte 44
Millard South 54, Lincoln Southwest 44
Beatrice 51, Platteview 47
Crete 48, Norris 43, OT
Grand Island Northwest 47, Sidney 44
Scottsbluff 57, Bennington 47
Adams Central 44, Chadron 30
Lincoln Christian 55, Malcolm 34
North Bend Central 48, West Point-Beemer 33
St. Paul 41, Wahoo 38
Crofton 72, Bancroft-Rosalie/Lyons-Decatur 41
Hastings St. Cecilia 56, Superior 43
Oakland-Craig 41, Clarkson/Leigh 36
Ponca 56, Grand Island Central Catholic 38
Archbishop Bergan 44, Maywood-Hayes Center 30
CWC 58, Dundy County-Stratton 36
Hartington Cedar Catholic 54, Weeping Water 49
Pleasanton 66, Pender 56
Falls City Sacred Heart 53, Loomis 27
Humphrey St. Francis 60, Sterling 53
Mullen 60, Bruning-Davenport/Shickley 54
Wynot 48, Lawrence-Nelson 39
Haanif Cheatham scored 19 points and Dachon Burke Jr. scored 16 points to pace Nebraska (7-23, 2-17 Big Ten Conference). Thorir Thorbjarnarson pulled down a team-best seven rebounds for the Huskers, who outrebounded Michigan 40-38, the first time this season Nebraska has outrebounded a Big Ten foe.
Nebraska also shot a season-best 80 percent on free throws, connecting on 12 of 15 attempts.
But the Wolverines, led by Isaiah Livers with 18 points, shot 59.4 percent from the field in the second half to pull away from Nebraska, which was playing without starting point guard Cam Mack for its second consecutive road game.
Michigan (19-11, 10-9) opened the game with an 11-2 lead and held a nine-point margin with midway through the first half, when Nebraska used a 10-2 run to get back in the game.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Thorbjarnarson and Burke started the run. John Teske hit a short jumper for Michigan, but Kevin Cross scored in the paint and Thorbjarnarson scored a layup to pull the Huskers within 23-22 with 6:52 remaining before halftime.
Nebraska, though, missed its next five field goal attempts while also committing five turnovers. However, Michigan didn't take full advantage, only extending its lead to 29-22 with 3:59 remaining. Eli Brooks had two 3-pointers in that stretch for the Wolverines.
Cheatham ended Nebraska's scoring drought of 6 minutes, 52 seconds with a layup off a Michigan turnover. Akol Arop followed with a transition layup off an assist from Thorbjarnarson to pull the Huskers within 29-26 with 1:04 remaining before halftime.
Brandon Johns Jr. hit a 3-pointer for Michigan, and Burke made two free throws, while Michigan missed a shot at the halftime buzzer, with the Wolverines leading 32-28 at halftime. Nebraska held Michigan to 34 percent shooting in the first half, including 5-of-15 on 3-pointers, while the Huskers shot 37 percent and held a 24-18 rebounding advantage in the first half.
Nebraska concludes the regular season Sunday with a noon tip-off at Minnesota. The Huskers will be either the No. 13 or No. 14 seed for next week's Big Ten Tournament, which begins Wednesday in Indianapolis.
Freshman forward Isabelle Bourne added career highs with 16 points and five blocked shots to go along with a team-high six rebounds off the bench for Nebraska, as the Huskers closed the regular season with a 17-13 overall record that included a 7-11 Big Ten mark.
Michigan, which improved to 20-10 overall after going 10-8 in the league, advances to play Big Ten regular-season co-champion Northwestern on Friday. Sophomore point guard Amy Dilk led Michigan with game highs of 22 points and six assists of her own, while first-team All-Big Ten forward Naz Hillmon added 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Nebraska, which built a 42-34 halftime lead, saw Michigan open the third quarter on a 13-2 surge in the first five minutes to take a 47-44 lead. The Huskers were never able to recover, as the Wolverines built a 58-52 edge heading to the fourth quarter by outscoring NU 24-10 in the third period.
The Huskers found more offense in the fourth quarter, but they were unable to get stops in the first five minutes, as Michigan extended its lead to 71-61 in the first five minutes of the final period. The Wolverines took their biggest lead of the night at 74-62 with three minutes left, but Nebraska refused to surrender. Brown scored five points in a 7-1 surge for the Big Red that cut the margin to 75-69 with 1:09 left. After a free throw by Dilk with 1:02 left, Nebraska got a Nicea Eliely layup with 43 seconds left to trim it to 76-71. Dilk hit 1-of-2 free throws with 38.2 second left to push the edge to six, with Nebraska coming down with a chance to make it a one-possession game. However, a Husker turnover gave the ball back to the Wolverines and ended the Husker hopes of a Big Ten Tournament run.
Nebraska fell despite hitting 50.9 percent (28-55) of its shots from the field and 75 percent (12-16) of its free throws on the night. The Huskers were also 7-of-19 from three-point range (.368), but got out-rebounded 35-27 and lost the turnover battle 16-13. It was just the second time this season that Nebraska hit better than 50 percent of its shots from the field.
Michigan answered by hitting 46.2 percent (30-65) of its shots, including just 3-of-10 threes. The Wolverines also struggled at times from the line, hitting 18-of-28 free throws (.643). But 19 offensive rebounds and 24 second-chance points doomed the Huskers, as Hillmon pulled down six boards on the offensive end.
In a first half that started with foul trouble for Nebraska center Kate Cain and Hillmon, the Huskers played outstanding offense and forced 10 first-half turnovers by the Wolverines.
Cain, a Big Ten All-Defensive selection and honorable-mention all-conference pick, was called for two fouls just seconds apart against Hillmon in the first 1:07 of the game and went to the bench with Michigan leading 4-0. Just 2:53 later, Hillmon was whistled for her second foul with Michigan leading 8-5.
With Cain and Hillmon both off the floor for the final six minutes of the first quarter, Nebraska closed the quarter on a 15-5 surge thanks in large part to seven huge points from Bourne and a three-pointer by forward Kayla Mershon in place of Cain - all in place of Cain.
Nebraska took a 20-13 lead to the second quarter, before Brown's second three-pointer and a bucket by Bourne pushed the Husker lead to 25-14 just 46 seconds into the period and force a Michigan timeout. Another Husker stop was followed by a three-pointer from Sam Haiby, who finished with 10 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals, to give Nebraska its biggest lead of the game at 28-14 with 8:28 left in the half.
The Huskers maintained a 31-18 lead with 6:05 left before Michigan Coach Kim Barnes Arico rolled the dice and inserted Hillmon with two fouls. Hillmon scored seven points in the final 5:27 of the half to help stabilize the Wolverines and cut the margin to eight heading to the second half.
Cain, battled more foul trouble throughout the second half, but managed to go 6-for-6 from the field and finish with 12 points and three blocked shots. Her three rejections pushed her season total to 101, breaking her own Nebraska single-season record. As a team, Nebraska matched its season high and school conference tournament record with 12 blocks as a team.
Nebraska will await word on a 2020 Postseason WNIT bid, which will be announced late in the evening on Monday, March 16. If the Huskers are invited to the tournament, they could open tournament play as early as Wednesday, March 18 and could be set to host in the first round of the 64-team field at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
BOYS PREP BASKETBALL=
Class A District Final=
Millard North 85, Kearney 55
Omaha Westside 73, Papillion-LaVista 60
Omaha South 55, Lincoln Pius X 38
Class C1 District Final=
Adams Central 61, O'Neill 22
St. Paul 45, North Bend Central 44
Ashland-Greenwood 54, Chase County 28
Class C2 District Final=
Yutan 60, Shelby/Rising City 39
Class D1 District Final=
North Platte St. Patrick's 69, East Butler 51
Laurel-Concord/Coleridge 63, Anselmo-Merna 37
Osmond 63, McCool Junction 33
Paxton 53, Axtell 45
Southern Valley 63, Heartland 50
Fullerton 63, West Holt 60
Pleasanton 51, Elm Creek 40
Class D2 District Final=
St. Mary's 74, Hyannis 42
Parkview Christian 58, Wallace 33
The McCook Community College men’s basketball team, 15-15, take the momentum of a six-game win streak into Thursday’s second round Region IX tournament game against Western Wyoming (27-4) in Sterling, Colo. at 3 p.m. (MT). MCC downed Lamar Community College at home Saturday, 89-64 for the team’s sixth straight win to open the tournament.
The remainder of the men’s Region IX Basketball Championship will be held at the Bank of Colorado Event Center in Sterling, Colo. Tournament passes are available for $25. A Thursday-only pass is $12 and student day passes are $5. All games will be livestreamed on the Northeastern Junior College Athletics YouTube channel with audio coverage provided for every game at: https://www.youtube.com/
The MCC-Western Wyoming game will be the second of four quarter-final games Thursday. The semifinals are set for Friday at 5 and 7 p.m. (MT) with the finals Saturday at 7 p.m. (MT).
The Indians have won six straight games including wins over Southeast CC, Trinidad State, Otero, Lamar, North Platte and Lamar again in the opening round of the Region IX Tournament. While all but the first of those six games have been at home, MCC’s margin of victories have been, 11, 11, nine, nine, 15 and 25. MCC has averaged 83.8 points in those six games (4.4 points more than the season average). Defensively MCC has given up an average of 70.8 points in those last six games (11.3 points per game fewer that the season average.)
Coach Kyle Drennan, in his first year at MCC and first year as a head coach. His team includes nine freshmen and three sophomore transfers. The coach is crediting much of the recent improvement to a defensive buy-in, offensive maturity and a young team that took a while to bond.
“There's a feeling that people still aren't taking McCook seriously," Drennan said after Saturday’s first-round win. “This team is like the land of misfit toys. Back in July, none of us had anywhere to go. Everybody who's playing right now had no team back in July. We all got left on the shelf, but you know what? Right now that’s motivating us. Now, were playing as a team and we’re playing the right way."
The Mustangs are ranked 15th in the latest National Junior College Athletic Association Top 25 rankings. They were the top seed in the north division of Region IX and opened the tournament at home (in Rock Springs) with an 84-57 win over eighth seeded Northwest Wyoming.
Coach Steve Soza, is in his second year at Rock Springs, after spending the previous 10 seasons as an assistant coach at Northeastern Junior College. The Mustangs’ losses include: Nov. 16 (90-83 at Western Nebraska); Nov. 30 (at Salt Lake City College 93-83); Feb. 8 (94-93 at home against Casper College); and Feb. 15 (77-72 at Eastern Wyoming).
The Mustangs average 88.9 points per game, and give up 76.6 points per game. They shoot 47.9 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from the 3-point line. Western Wyoming averages 44.2 rebounds and 19.8 assists per game. Offensively, they are led by sophomore forward Manel Ayol averaging 16.9 points per game and freshman Dayne Prim, 16.5 PPG. A trio of sophomore guards are topping the 40 percent mark from the 3-point line led by Trey Marble who averages 10.3 points per game.
For the season MCC averages 79.4 points per game and allows 82.1. The Indians are shooting 46.4 percent from the field and 35.4 percent from the 3-point line. MCC averages 35.5 rebounds and 10.8 assists per game.
Freshman Le’Tre Darthard (Denton, Texas) -- who scored 35 points Saturday in MCC’s opening round win over Lamar -- leads MCC in scoring with 17.5 points per game. He’s 41.7 percent from the 3-point line and averaged 5.5 rebounds per game.
Sophomore Raheim Sullivan (Toronto, Canada) averages 16.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4 assists per game, and is a 38.5 percent shooter from the 3-point line. Sophomore Justin Costello (Omaha) scores 10.8 points per game, 3.4 rebounds and shoots 33.3 percent from the 3-point line.
In their only matchup this season, the Mustangs came to McCook on Nov. 22 and took it to the Indians from the opening tip, mounted a 23-point lead in the first half and went on to an 84-66 win over the Indians. Western shot 63.3 percent in that first half and went on to make 11 of 21 shots from the 3-point line.
The winner of Thursday’s contest moves to a semi-final game Friday at 5 p.m. (MT) against the winner of the Thursday game between Otero Junior College and Gillette.
For more information on MCC basketball and all MCC sports, visit the official site of MCC Athletics at https://mccindians.com/index.
MEN’S REGION IX TOURNAMENT
Western Nebraska 90, Trinidad State 82 (at Scottsbluff)
Otero Junior College 98, North Platte 62 (at La Junta, Colo.)
McCook 89, Lamar 64 (at McCook)
Casper 94, Laramie County 81 (at Casper)
Gillette 66, Eastern Wyoming 65 (at Gillette)
Central Wyoming 92, Sheridan 76 (at Riverton, Wyo.)
Western Wyoming 84, Northwest 57 (at Rock Springs, Wyo.)
THURSDAY, MARCH 5
(All games at Sterling, Colo.)
Game 1 -- Otero Junior College (26-6) vs. Gillette (26-5) at 1 p.m. (MT)
Game 2 -- McCook Community College (15-15) vs. Western Wyoming (27-4) at 3 p.m. (MT)
Game 3 -- Casper College (26-5) vs. Western Nebraska (19-11) at 5 p.m. (MT)
Game 4 -- Northeastern Junior College (23-7) vs Central Wyoming (21-10) at 7 p.m. (MT)
SEMIFINALS MARCH 6
Game 5 -- Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 5 p.m. (MT)
Game 6 -- Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 7 p.m. (MT)
FINALS MARCH 7
GAME 7 – Game 5 winner vs Game 6 winner. 7 p.m. (MT)