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March 1, 2013While it's hard to find time to write while running about town all day taking photos, I do have some things to say about Thursday's first round of the 2013 Nebraska girls state basketball tournament...
Class A: No surprises here, though Lincoln Southeast looked impressive in beating tournament tough Bellevue East. Southeast sophomore Jess Shepard is as impressive as any sophomore I've seen at that level.
Both Bellevue West (53-51 over Benson) and Omaha Central (61-60 over Millard North) got good scares in the first round and now face each other in what should be an outstanding semifinal.
Class B: To say it was Hanah Barnard's night would be like saying the ocean is big. The Beatrice guard tied a state tournament record with six three-pointers, scoring a career-high 31 points in the process, to help her team beat stubborn South Sioux City, 59-56. Beatrice has lots of weapons and maybe more importantly owns a pair of wins over four-time champ Seward and has also beaten Norris, another first-day winner (44-43 over Gretna).
Speaking of Seward, the Bluejays survived a first-day challenge from Holdrege, winning in overtime, to stay on track for another title.
Class C-1: I wanted to see Chadron up close and personal and the Cardinals did a good job of shaaking off some early game nerves, to say nothing of a pesky Lincoln Christian team, winning by 11, 54-43.
Chadron's junior all-state post, Ashlea Kerr, suffered a knee injury a couple of weeks ago and is coming off the bench as Chadron's sixth man. She' seemed to move real well last night, but it was Payton Hinn with 14 points and Bailea Kerr (13 points) who took up the scoring slack.
Wahoo scored the biggest upet of Day One, downing 24-win Fillmore Central, 45-31. Wahoo, with its vast state tournament experience, turned up the defensive pressure, forcing Fillmore into bad shots and a string of costly second-half turnovers to seal the deal. Wahoo will be a difficult match-up for Kearney Catholic in today's semifinals at 2 p.m.
Class C-2 Rubber game of the five-game set goes to Hershey.
Winning for the third time in five games against North Platte St. Pat's, Hershey advanced with a 53-34 win, scoring the program's first-ever state tournament victory. Hershey played great defense and has a great floor leader in senior guard Daynlee Miller. The Panthers will face St. Cecilia, an easy winner over Sutton, 50-34.
Crofton looked its physical, dominating self in a stunning 54-19 win over North Bend Central, owning a 48-10 lead at one point in the fourth quarter. Crofton will face Homer, which dominated a good Aquinas team, in a rematch of last weeks district final and one of the best semifinals of the day.
Class D-1: In one of the better games of the day, plucky Emerson-Hubbard took charge late, making several key free throws, to beat Friend 52-45. Emerson-Hubbard starts just one senior, brilliant senior Marisa Blanke, who we met earlier in the week, and she will need to be at her best tonight when the Pirates tackle a big, physical Pender team in the semifinals.
Defending championg Guardian Angels Central Catholic wasn't challenge in an opening round win against Arapahoe and will need to find a way to slow St. Mary's Brooke Bauer, who scored 20 in a win over Sutherland, to advance to another state final.
Class D-2: Osmond won a state tournament game for the first time since 1989, and second time ever, while dispatching an outstanding Deshler team, 42-27. Didn't see this one being so lopsided and now you have to wonder if Osmond might not be the answer this week.
Falls City Sacred Heart freshman Maggie Goltz had a career-best 30 points in her team's easy win over Sandhills/Thedford, setting up an outstanding semifinal against Sacred Heart.
The other semifinal will produced perhaps the D-2 game of the tournament as two-time defending state champ Wynot, an 80-53 winner over Giltner, will face our tournament favorite, Lindsay Holy Family. As has been the case during its current run, Wynot has great depth and an all-stater to bank on in junior Maggie Schulte while Holy Family will count on the best player in the class, towering junior Kaylee Jensen.