The D2-2 District championship game Friday appeared to be a definite uphill battle for Spalding/Spalding Academy before the contest even started.
After all, not only were the 11-12 Lady Knights facing defending Class D2 state champion Lindsay Holy Family in a district final for the second straight season, but S/SA was also without senior leader Emily Esch, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the sub-district final.
Holy Family, 24-1, did not need any extra advantages. The Lady Bulldogs, with only a loss to D1 state tourney bound Newman Grove and ranked #1 or #2 all season, overwhelmed Spalding/Academy from the opening tip and dominated throughout a 54-24 victory at Boone Central High School.
Using trapping, pressure defense that led to numerous steals and breakaway baskets, the Lady ‘Dogs raced to an 18-0 lead by the end of the first quarter and were never threatened in the contest.
“Holy Family’s tough defense was just too much to handle. We fought hard on defense the entire game though. The girls never gave up and I am very proud of that,” said S/SA Coach Stephanie Wlaschin.
Bulldog Coach Travis Friesen had to be proud of his team’s first half, while S/SA players probably felt a bit helpless. The Knights finally hit four free throws in the latter stages of the second quarter, but trailed 27-4 at intermission.
Holy Family continued to maintain its big lead with success at the foul line in the third period and took a 40-15 advantage into the final eight minutes. LHF knocked down a pair of 3-point shots in the fourth to wrap up its second straight district title.
Holy Family will be the #2 seed in the Class D2 field at this week’s Nebraska Girls Basketball State Championship Tournament. Lindsay opens play Thursday at Lincoln Southwest High School (9 a.m.) against Mead (15-8). With a victory, LHF would face the Wynot/Ansley winner Friday at Pershing (2 p.m.). The D2 title game is Saturday at 9 a.m. (Devaney Center). The third-place contest is set for 12 p.m. Saturday at Southwest High.
Weeder is Holy Family’s leading scorer at 12.9 per game. Other scoring leaders include Jensen (11.3), Bender (8.1) and Stacey Beller (6.8). Jensen, a 6-3 freshman (5.9), and Bender (5.5) are the top rebounders for the Bulldogs.
Holy Family is seeking its second consecutive girls basketball championship and fourth overall. Lindsay previously won titles in 2010, 1993 and 1991 and was also state runner-up in 1998 and 1997.
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