Hey Lincoln – we’re back!
The Boone Central Lady Cardinals will travel to Nebraska’s state capital for their third Nebraska Girls State Basketball Tournament appearance in four years after defeating Mid-State Conference rival Norfolk Catholic 50-43 in the C1-4 District championship game Friday at Central Community College’s Raider Fieldhouse in Columbus.
The victory over one familiar foe sets up a meeting with another. Boone Central will square off with Columbus Scotus – one of just two teams to defeat the 23-2 Lady Cards this season – in a Class C1 first-round state tournament match-up Thursday at Pershing Auditorium (9 a.m.).
Backed by a large, boisterous following of Cardinal fans, Boone Central turned to its strength – tenacious, unrelenting pressure defense – to stymie Norfolk Catholic (19-5) Friday and claim the district championship hardware.
The Lady Cards outscored Catholic 13-8 in the second period to open a 27-18 halftime lead and held a double-digit advantage through much of the second half.
“We defended with urgency for 32 minutes and were very solid taking care of the ball, committing only 10 turnovers in the game,” Kennedy lauded.
Along with struggling to find points against the staunch Card defense, the Lady Knights could not cope with the seemingly-endless waves of Boone Central players Kennedy kept on the attack. BC got points from eight players, rebounds by seven and steals by six.
“This was certainly a game where the depth of our team was the difference,” Kennedy acknowledged. “We got a great game by Emily Carder, timely contributions by Kattie Cleveland and Shannon Stuhlmiller, and solid play by the entire team.”
One and All
Kennedy could also have mentioned the usual stellar performances and leadership from seniors Jaime Kennedy and Jenna Lehmann, the all-around efforts of guards Jade Gottier and Britany Seda, and Maria Glidden’s tireless, physical play in the paint.
Soaking in the celebration afterward, Kennedy was proud of his team’s accomplishment, but also focused on finishing the season with success in Lincoln.
“Our fan support (at Columbus) was incredible. Our team would like to thank all Lady Cardinal fans and invite everyone to Lincoln Thursday as we take on Scotus,” he commented. “It now comes down to one game to take our program to a level we have not yet achieved.
“We have been a very consistent basketball team all season – we defend as well as anyone in the state on a nightly basis.
“We will be very focused on finding a way to advance past the first round of the state tournament and taking advantage of our opportunity.”
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