On paper, it appeared that Boone Central should dominate the girls C1-8 sub-district tournament in Grand Island.
After all, the Lady Cardinals entered post-season play with a 20-2 record and the #1 ranking in the Lincoln Journal-Star’s Class C1 Top 10, while the other three teams in the C1-8 field sported sub-.500 records.
While nothing is certain in athletics, BC avoided any complacency or lapses and did indeed have its way at Northwest High School last week.
The Lady Cards flew out to an overwhelming 31-4 halftime lead over G.I. Central Catholic in Thursday’s sub-district final and defeated the Crusaders 54-33, setting up a district championship contest against Mid-State Conference rival Norfolk Catholic (Friday, Feb. 24, 7 p.m., Central Community College-Columbus).
Boone Central completely stifled Central Catholic (10-14) with suffocating full-court pressure and tenacious half-court defense in Thursday’s opening half.
Cardinal Coach Mike Kennedy said his team’s defense was “spot-on” and praised his players for executing their game plan “to a T.”
The performance certainly left opposing Coach Andy Anspauch impressed.
“They’re awfully good – they execute their sets well and they’re aggressive defensively,” he praised. “They’re a senior-dominated team, so they’re able to do a lot of different things as far as switching up defenses consistently.”
After scoring early to make it 4-2, G.I.C.C. did not get further points until sinking two free throws in the final seconds of the first quarter, then were blanked the entirety of the second period. The befuddled Crusaders made just 1-of-15 shot attempts in the first half and committed 11 turnovers while Boone Central pulled away.
“Our defense just locked them down in the first half and our perimeter players did a great job getting the ball to Jenna (Lehmann) and letting her take advantage of her edge on the inside,” Kennedy said.
Lehmann finished the contest with 21 points and 13 rebounds, dominating in the painted area of the court.
Boone Central had opened the C1-8 tournament with a 46-26 victory over Central City (5-15) Tuesday.
In a preview of Thursday’s contest, BC held the Bison to just seven points in the opening half while racing to a 30-7 lead.
“We dominated this game defensively, holding them scoreless for a long stretch in the first and second quarter,” Kennedy commented. “We played with great intensity and looked very excited to be getting our post-season journey underway.”
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