NORTH PLATTE - - Paxton was able to survive a late Sandhills/Thedford rally and defeat the Knights, earning a trip to the state tournament.
Sandhills/Thedford led for one minute the entire game.
After Cole Taylor and Matthew McLeod scored two early baskets and a free throw and led 5-4, Paxton would seize the lead and the Knights were forced to play from behind the rest of the game.
The Tigers were able to run out to a 16-9 first quarter lead, and that was mainly due to Paxton's full-court defense that caused six first quarter turnovers.
The Knights were able to become comfortable with Paxton's defense in the second quarter and found success under the basket behind Taylor's team-high 12 points.
The third quarter saw Sandhills/Thedford trade basket-for-basket, and the Knights were down by 13 points at one point, however S/T fought back and cut the lead to within seven.
Down 45-33 with five minutes to go, the Knights would come to within three points, when Ty Sierks hit back-to-back 3-pointers, Brady Marten nailed a 3-pointer and Taylor nailed a deep three, but a costly turnover at half-court and a Paxton basket with .18 left, sealed the Knight's fate and they would fall.
"I'm still proud of our boys," Coach Adam Marten said. "We fought the entire game and didn't give up. These kids were one of the first classes to come through the co-op (Sandhills and Thedford High School) and they've bought in since day one. This was the best winning percentage for the boys since we joined forces."
Cole Taylor was the leading contributor for the Knights with 12 points and seven rebounds.
Tyler Lee helped out with nine points and seven rebounds. Matthew McLeod and Ty Sierks both scored seven points.
Twin Loup 43
BROKEN BOW - - With less than one second left to play in overtime, Sandhills/Thedford's Tyler Lee scored on a deflected inbound pass and shot the ball over the extended hands of Twin Loup's Guy Fenske to win the D8 subdistrict final.
This contest was close from the start.
Both squad's traded basket-for-basket in the first quarter and were tied at 15 apiece.
The second quarter wasn't nearly as explosive on the offensive end, with the Wolves outscoring the Knights 7-6.
Twin Loup would lead 22-21 going into half-time.
The Wolves owned the third quarter as well, outscoring S/T 11-8 and led 33-29.
The Knights fought their way back in the fourth quarter, and at one point were down by six points but would even the score at 39 all.
The overtime didn't showcase a lot of offense, but it proved to be exciting.
With less than 10 seconds remaining and the clock ticking, Fenske attempted to drive the lane, but turned the ball over and there was a mad dash down the court. The ball went off a Twin Loup player and with less than one second left, Lee grabbed the deflected inbound pass and scored to end the game at the buzzer.
What would prove to be the difference in the game was S/T's shooting percentage. The Knights scored on 40.5 percent of their shots from the field compared to the 31.4 percent from Twin Loup.
Tyler Lee scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Ty Sierks dropped in 13 points and hauled in four rebounds. Cole Taylor scored 10 points and grabbed in 11 rebounds.
Tyke Kozeal scored 16 points to lead Twin Loup.
Broken Bow 30
BASSETT - - Valentine cruised to a 65-30 win over Broken Bow in the first round of subdistricts.
The Badgers outscored the Indians 16-4 in the first quarter and 13-4 in the second quarter and would take a 29-10 lead at halftime.
The Indians did find their offensive groove in the third quarter, pouring in 13 points. However, the Indians weren't able to find an answer to stop Valentine's offense, and surrendered 16 points.
Valentine outscored Broken Bow 20-7 in the fourth quarter to close out the game and the season for the Indians.
"The same things that hurt us during the year hurt us in this game as well. We had over 30 turnovers and gave up more than 15 offensive rebounds. You will never win a game doing that," Coach Anthony Blum said. "We competed really hard, but with competing you also have to play smart. We talked all week about using pass fakes because they were going to shoot the passing lanes, but we didn’t do a great job of doing that. I really appreciated the way the boys continued to work all season, and appreciated the seniors’ effort throughout the season; I will miss coaching those guys.
We have to get better at a lot of things between now and next basketball season. We will have to get into the gym this summer to be able to compete at the level we want to."
Justin McCullough led the Indians with seven points.
COZAD - - Brady used a 27-point first quarter en route to a 71-57 win in the subdistrict championship game.
The Coyotes were looking at a 44-25 deficit at halftime.
A-M fought back in the third quarter, outscoring the Eagles 17-7 and cut into Brady's lead.
The Eagles and 'Yotes traded basket-for-basket in the fourth quarter and Brady would win the scoring battle, 20-17 to close out the win.
"We played a good team and come up short," coach Paul Christen said. "The boys finished the year playing real well. I am proud of them."
Joseph Christen led A-M with 23 points, five rebounds and three steals.
Cole Geiser helped out with eight points, Tyler Evans chipped in eight points and Dusty Chandler scored six points.
MINDEN - - Amherst upended Ansley/Litchfield in the opening round of subdistricts last week.
Amherst was able to jump out to a 25-18 lead and the Trojans were forced to play catch-up and couldn't come through.
Mike Heapy scored nine points and Tyson Howard dropped in six points to A/L.
COZAD - - Anselmo-Merna dropped SEM 57-46 in the first round of subdistricts. The 'Yotes found their offense in the first quarter, outscoring the Mustangs 19-10.
SEM fought back in the second quarter, outscoring the 'Yotes 16-7 and the game was tied 26 apiece at halftime.
The A-M offense played well in the second half, outscoring the Mustangs 15-7 and 16-13 to close out the win.
"The boys had an all out effort tonight," coach Christen said. "We know that we played a very good team tonight."
Cole Geiser led the 'Yotes with 20 points, Joseph Christen helped out with 18 points and Tyler Evans dropped in eight points.
Dillan Line scored 22 points to lead SEM
Twin Loup 42
South Loup 40
BROKEN BOW - - In the battle of the Loup's, Twin Loup survived a late South Loup rally and held on for a 42-40 win.
The Wolves outscored the Bobcats 10-7 in the first quarter and 5-4 in the second quarter to take a 15-11 lead at halftime. Both teams came out firing on offense in the third quarter, however, Twin Loup won the scoring advantage 13-10 and would take a 28-21 lead into the fourth quarter.
However, that's when things turned around. At the start of the fourth quarter, South Loup went on 11-1 run that would change the course of the game, but the Wolves were able to counter with just enough offense to hang on for the win. "We played very well on the defensive side for most of the game," Coach Mike Kozeal said. "We struggled with outside shooting, but shot well from the free-throw line."
Jack Gibbens was the leading contributor with 15 points and 14 rebounds for the double-double.
Aaron Stryker dropped in 17 points to lead the Bobcats.
Loup City 45
BROKEN BOW - - Sandhills/Thedford withstood a Loup City rally and went on to a 47-45 win.
Both teams scored 16 points apiece in the first half, but the third quarter saw S/T outscore the Red Raiders 21-7.
Loup City turned the tables on the Knights in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Knights 22-10, but it wasn't enough as S/T held on for the two-point win.
Tyler Lee and Matt McLeod both scored 13 points for the Knights.
BRADY - - Sandhills/Thedford was able to do something that doesn't happen a lot: defeat Brady on their home court. The Knights did that, and defeated Brady 49-45 and in the process enacted some revenge from a last-second loss in the Sandhills Conference championship game played last month.
Tyler Lee was the leading scorer with 12 points. Cole Taylor chipped in 11 points.