The Class 2A defending state champion, Berean Academy, was not to be denied back-to-back titles as they outlasted Lyndon 41-32.
The top-seeded Warriors took on a Lyndon team that entered the tournament as a No. 7 seed.
One might figure the matchup would favor the Warriors, but Berean coach Lewis Wiebe said seeding means nothing in a game of this magnitude.
“They had one of the best runs in the 2A state tournament I’ve ever seen a team have,” Coach Wiebe said of Lyndon.
“Coming in, to be honest, I thought they (might play like) a seven seed, but after the first night and after last night I thought they played incredibly well. Those kids fought hard, and we were fortunate to get a couple rolls and breaks and get a bit of a lead on them.”
The breaks didn’t come easy for the Warriors as the game was tight throughout.
The key moments for Berean came at the end of the third quarter and early into the fourth.
With Berean clinging to a 21-20 lead with 35 seconds remaining in the third quarter, junior guard Joshua Hoover nailed a three-pointer which gave the Warriors a 24-20 lead going into the final period.
The momentum would continue to build for Berean as Luke Friesen hit a three less than a minute into the fourth quarter.
Then on the next possession for the Warriors, Caleb Hoover scored on a backdoor layup.
Berean’s lead was now 29-20 with six minutes to go, and they would lead by as much as 10 in the game’s final minutes.
Lyndon would hit some shots down the stretch but could never cut its deficit to less than seven in the fourth quarter.
Throughout the game, the Warriors were able to get to the line but left a lot of points on the floor going just 10-26 from the stripe.
Berean’s Karlin Wiebe led all scorers with 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Joshua Hoover added 10 points.
Lyndon’s leading scorers were Trey Brown and Tyler Decker, who had six apiece.
Coach Wiebe said this year’s championship was special because his team had to overcome injuries and illnesses throughout the season.
“It’s a great, great feeling,” Berean coach Lewis Wiebe said of his team winning its second-straight title. “It feels different than it did last year. It’s just a great accomplishment.”
“It’s hard winning a state championship. I don’t cared how good anybody is. It is difficult. A lot of things had to happen right.”
Freshman duo lifts Moundridge to 2A title
A pair of freshman led the way for Moundridge as the Wildcats took down Heart of America League rival Ell-Saline 48-34 in the girls Class 2A State Championship game Saturday evening.
Freshman MacKenzie Suderman and Brooke Halloway came up big on the biggest of stages for Moundridge.
“I knew this was our last game,” Suderman said. “I just had to give it all I had. We don’t have another game, so I knew I had to leave it all on the court.”
Suderman certainly gave it her all as she led all scorers with 21 points and amassed nine rebounds and three steals. She was 4-of-9 from beyond the arc and shot 57% from the floor.
Halloway added 12 points on 6-of-12 shooting and grabbed six rebounds.
The win not only gave Moundridge its first girls state title since 2003 but it avenged a regular-season loss to Ell-Saline from earlier this year.
Moundridge coach Chad Higgins credited his team’s success this time around to slowing down Ell-Saline’s senior guard Mariah Jones.
“They beat us by 16 the first time we played,” Higgins said, referring to the 51-35 loss on February 15.
“(This time) we had to stop Mariah’s penetration. She’s a tough, tough player to guard…she can hit the three and she can drive. She’s just a very tough matchup and we did a very good job most of the game getting her shut down.”
Jones ended the night with 13 points and was the only player to reach double figures for the Cardinals.
Ell-Saline jumped on top early, leading 8-7 after the first quarter before Moundridge outscored the Cardinals 14-9 in the second. Moundridge took a 21-17 lead into the break.
Suderman actually scored the first 10 points for Moundridge before the rest of the offense found its rhythm.
Moundridge exploded in the third quarter while Ell-Saline’s offense went cold. The Wildcats outscored the Cardinals 20-9 to take a 41-26 lead into the final quarter.
The deficit was too much for Ell-Saline to overcome as they were unable to rally in the fourth quarter.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this before” Suderman said of winning state.
“It’s an awesome experience and I’m just so glad to have experienced it my freshman year. Hopefully next year we can come back and do it again.”
Third Place Boys – Washington County 50, Nemaha Valley 38
Washington County (21-4) overcame a 13-3 first-quarter deficit to beat Nemaha Valley (19-7) 50-38.
In the second half the Tigers shot 64% from the floor and outscored Nemaha Valley 29-18.
Washington County’s Ryan Fiser led all scorers with 18 points, while Colin Baker added 11, and Brett Vogt had 10 and eight rebounds.
Garrett Steinlage was the only player to reach double figures in scoring for Nemaha Valley. He had 14 points.
Third Place Girls – Oxford 48, Jayhawk Linn 44
Clinging to a four-point lead going into the final quarter, Oxford was able to hold off Jayhawk Linn and win by as much in a 48-44 contest.
Oxford’s Kaitlin Norris led all scorers with 14, and Sarah White added 12. Shelbie Hutchins had 11 points and nine rebounds.
Jayhawk Linn was led by Baylea White, who had 13 points and 12 rebounds. Emma Hargrove had 10 points and nine boards.