Heartbreaker! Boone Central falls just short of stunning #1 Auburn

Photos for Albion News/Boone County Tribune, Jeremy Buss

My, oh my.
Close, oh so close.
Auburn 48, Boone Central 41. Final score.
But a game that was so much more than that.
In a district final headknocker at Crete Monday, the Boone Central Cardinals fell in a 16 point hole against undefeated #1 Auburn. But just when it appeared the Class C1 two-time defending champion Bulldogs might cruise to another trip to Lincoln, Boone Central literally clawed its way back to the brink of pulling off an upset stunner.
Of course, the Cardinals didn’t necessarily feel a victory would be an upset. Although fans around the state may have viewed the game as a mismatch – #1 district seed vs. #16, 22-0 vs. 13-12 – they might not have considered the rugged schedule that had steeled the Cardinals in 2020-21. Having played five of the Class C1 Top 10 during the regular season, as well as vieing in the tough Mid-State Conference, Boone Central felt it could compete with anyone.
Compete the Cardinals did. Right to the bitter end.
Boone Central fought all the way back from that 16 point deficit to trail by a single point twice in the final two minutes, but could never quite clear the final barrier and take the elusive lead.
While Auburn struggled against Boone Central’s pressure in the second half, there’s one thing the Bulldogs know how to do – win. Auburn, led by all-state standout Cam Binder, made the clutch plays in the final minute and, in fact, won for the 59th straight time. That’s right, 59 in a row.
So, Auburn is the C1-1 District champion and moves on to the 2021 Nebraska Boys State Basketball Tournament with a chance to win a third consecutive championship. Boone Central certainly looked like a team that could also comfortably fit in the final eight at state next week, but finishes its season 13-13, having proudly stressed Nebraska’s current top C1 program.
My, oh my.

Further game details and stats in Print & Online editions of Albion News/Boone County Tribune