Silver Lake is halfway home to a grudge-match showdown with two-time defending Class 3A state basketball champion Scott City.
The Eagles held off Beloit’s rally 52-50 Thursday to earn a semifinal berth against unbeaten Humboldt in Friday’s 8:15 p.m. semifinals. The Eagles would love another shot against state favorite Scott City after losing a 28-21 heartbreaker in the Class 3A state football championship.
Silver Lake built a 10-point lead through three periods and held on despite getting outscored 28-20 in a frantic final period.
Silver Lake scored its final 12 points at the free throw line, including clutch conversions by Tyler Brown, Peter Pfannenstiel, Trenton Smith and Brendan Vega.
Caleb Palen drilled back-to-back 3-pointers to draw Beloit within 51-50 with 16 seconds left, but the Eagles somehow came up with a loose ball that everyone on the court seemingly touched in a wild scramble. Pfannenstiel added a free throw with 2.6 seconds left.
Silver Lake’s feisty 5-foot-11 Peter Pfannenstiel gave up seven inches, but held 6-6 Austin Budke to 13 points, but more importantly just eight field goal attempts. Silver Lake coach Linndy Frieden used a triangle-and-two defense to defend Budke, averaging 24 points, and Payton Vetter.
“Peter is a warrior,” Frieden said. “Peter got on Budke and made every shot tough. We fronted Budke and denied him the basketball. We made it hard on Budke to catch the basketball where he wanted.”
Beloit coach Ryan Eilert said the Trojans had seen a triangle-and-two before, but were not patient and determined enough to get the basketball to Budke, who fouled out with 1:16 left.
“We needed Austin to get the ball more,” Eilert said. “He’s our leading scorer. Give credit to their defense.”
Eilert said the Trojans dug a hole in the first three periods before finding their game in a 28-point fourth period.
“We didn’t come out and play our game. We didn’t come with the intensity and make shots like we needed,” Eilert said. “Once we relaxed, we played hard and really well. We finally played the way we play. But every time they made a run, to Silver Lake’s credit, they made a play.”
Eilert said once the Trojans kicked up their intensity, they showed the heart of a champion with their fourth-quarter rally. It came up one basket short.
“I feel bad right now. We made three or four good plays and started playing with confidence. We showed a lot of heart and fight and they left everything out on the floor tonight,” Eilert said. “They always had fun every night.”
The Eagles gave the Trojans the 3-point attempt, but they managed to make 5 of 23 long range attempts.
“Anytime you play a defense like that, you’re gambling a little bit, but the gamble paid off,” Frieden said. “It’d do it again.”
Pfannenstiel led Silver Lake with 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Brown chipped in 14 points with nine rebounds. Smith added 12 points. The Eagles made 17 of 43 field goals and 16 of 21 free throws.
Payton Vetter led Beloit with 14 points and nine rebounds. Palen had four assists. Beloit made 19 of 57 field goals. Beloit outscored the Eagles 15-6 on 3-pointers and 12-6 on second-chance points.
* SCOTT CITY 61, PITTSBURG COLGAN 48 – Scott City raced past Pittsburg Colgan 61-48 to reach Friday’s 4:45 p.m. semifinal against Nemaha Valley in a rematch of last year’s championship game that the Beavers won 61-47.
Trey O’Neil led the Beavers (23-1) with 17 points an six steals to outshine his reliable teammates Drew Kite and Brett O’Neil. Kite dominated inside with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Joseph Meyer also came up big with 14 points off 6 of 11 shooting. Brett O’Neil chipped in eight points and five assists. Scott City outscored Colgan 17-0 on second-chance points. The Beavers converted 23 of 53 field goals and 14 of 17 free throws.
Dyson Dechant led Colgan with 15 points and Luke Marquardt added 13 points. Scott City scored 22 points off 24 Colgan turnovers. Colgan made 19 of 37 field goals and 4 of 11 3-pointers.
Colgan (17-6) was making its 17th state appearance in 18 years.
* NEMAHA VALLEY 53, WICHITA INDEPENDENT 47 – Returning state runner-up Nemaha Valley survived 11 of 32 free throw shooting to hold off Wichita Independent. Nemaha Valley (23-1) outscored Independent 15-0 on 3-pointers.
Creighton Brinker led Nemaha Valley with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Trent Olberding added 12 points.
Wichita Independent (18-6) was paced by Brice Dean with 15 points. Independent missed all 15 3-point goals.
* HUMBOLDT 41, SACRED HEART 37 – Tanner McNutt made the extra pass and leading scorer Noah Thornbrugh drilled the game-winning shot with 1:30 that broke a 36-36 tie. Thornbrugh scored 15 points.
“It was a great pass by Tanner and I was in perfect rhythm when I shot it,” Thornbrugh said. “I told myself I was shooting it.”
Trey Johnson made two insurance free throws with 24 seconds left for a 40-36 lead. After Sacred Heart’s Austin Palen made one free throw, Brooks Brown missed a tying 3-point attempt.
Sacred Heart (15-9) was paced by Tony Chavez with 12 points. The Knights shot 27 percent on 15 of 56 field goals. Humboldt made 19 of 49 field goals.