The St. Edward Beavers avenged an earlier loss to Leigh and qualified for a return trip to the Nebraska State Basketball Tournament, defeating the Panthers in a 61-53 D2-2 district final overtime thriller February 26 before a packed house at Columbus Lakeview High School.
The win gives St. Edward (20-3) an opportunity to defend its Class D2 state title this week in Lincoln. The Beavers will open the 2008 state tourney against #1 seed Pleasanton (22-1) Thursday at Lincoln East (7:00 p.m.).
Senior standout Shavontae Samuels again led the Beavers in the district championship game with a game-high 24 points, but got plenty of help.
Six-foot-four senior James Spath contributed 22 points for St. Edward – including 16 in the first half – and senior Justin Fitchner sank one of the biggest shots of the contest – a three-point field goal that gave the Beavers a four-point lead in overtime.
In fact, after dominating the fourth quarter, Samuels did not score a point in the overtime. St. Edward used buckets by Spath and Fitchner to get a leg up in the extra period, then polished off the victory at the free throw line.
Complete details in Print Edition of the Albion News.