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2024 Girls Basketball State Championship Wednesday Roundup

by Feb 28, 2024Preps Girls Basketball

2024 Girls Basketball State Championship Wednesday Roundup
Photo Credit: Mike Sautter

The Nebraska Girls Basketball State Championships tipped off on Thursday with quarterfinals in Class D2, Class A and Class C2.

The Hurrdat Sports team posted up at Pinnacle Bank Arena to bring you coverage of all six day-one quarterfinals.


No. 1 Overton 51, No. 8 Paxton 27

The Tigers gave the top seed a battle early, but JoLee Ryan’s 3 at the buzzer tied it up at 15-all at halftime and the Eagles dominated the second half, 36-12, to advance.

Ryan scored a game-high 17 points while Natalie Wood added 15 for Overton.

— Jacob Padilla

No. 4 Howells-Dodge 52, No. 5 Sandhills/Thedford 44

The Knights took a 29-27 lead into halftime, but the Jaguars rallied to outscore Sandhills/Thedford by 10 in the second half, limiting them to 15 points in the final 16 minutes to earn a trip to the semifinals.

Jordan Ratzlaff and Kenadie Throener scored 10 points apiece while Kylie Brichacek, Jade Bayer and Peyten Becker chipped in nine each for the balanced Jaguars.

Karley Haake scored 15, Jaylen Dimmitt added 14 and Laney Dahlberg chipped in 11 for the Knights.

Howells-Dodge will face No. 1 Overton in Friday’s semifinals with tipoff set for 6 p.m. at the Devaney Center.

— Jacob Padilla


No. 1 Millard West 49, No. 8 Omaha Central 35

After a tight first quarter, Millard West opened the second with an 8-0 run and maintained its lead the rest of the way. The Wildcats extended the advantage to 10 midway through the third quarter.

The Eagles fought back into it, trimming the deficit to three early in the fourth, but the Wildcats locked up on defense and knocked down their free throws to end the game on an 11-0 run.

Both teams struggled mightily from the field, but Millard West went 21-for-27 at the foul line while Central finished 8-of-15.

Sophomore Kylee Paben led the Wildcats with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting (2-of-4 from 3), seven rebounds and three steals. Juniors Norah and Neleigh Gessert scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds apiece while shooting a combined 16-of-18 from the charity stripe.

Senior Inia Jones was the only Eagle in double figures with 19 points. The Bradley signee ends her high school career with 1,524 points.

— Jacob Padilla

No. 5 Lincoln North Star 46, No. 4 Millard North 31

In a battle featuring dueling zone defenses, the Navigators figured things out offensively in the second half while the Mustangs never did. North Star trailed by one at halftime before outscoring Millard North 31-15 in the second half to avenge a 19-point loss in the teams’ regular season finale and earn the program’s first state tournament win.

The Gators closed the third quarter on a 13-1 run then scored the first bucket of the fourth to take a 36-23 lead, and that deficit was too much for Millard North to overcome. North Star recorded 20 offensive rebounds to offset a cold shooting day and a high turnover rate.

Sophomore Ani Leu led the effort on the glass with 10 of her 14 rebounds on the offensive end, and she added 13 points, three steals and three assists. Fellow sophomore Kendall Anderson matched her with 13 points, shooting 4-of-9 from deep and nabbing five steals. Junior Sarah Gatwech matched Leu with 14 rebounds of her own (five offensive) while chipping in nine points, four steals, three assists and two blocks.

Junior Brylee Nelsen was the only Mustang in double figures with 11 points.

The Gators advance to face No. 1 Millard West in the semifinals on Friday, set for 6 p.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

— Jacob Padilla

No. 2 Lincoln Southwest 58, No. 7 Lincoln Southeast 56

Eleanor Griffin started what would turn out to be a fast and furious first quarter with two of her four 3-pointers (on nine attempts) that helped propel the Silver Hawks to a 22-15 lead after the first eight minutes. Griffin finished with a team-high 22 points and six rebounds.

It was a game of runs as Southeast would outscore Southwest 20-8 in the second quarter and take a 35-30 lead at the half.

Southwest started the second half hot, they stretched the post defender to the mid-post and found space behind her for layups to race to a 46-39 lead after three.

The Knights wouldn’t fold. Southeast took a 51-49 lead behind senior Nyalauk Dak with her game-high 23 points and 13 rebounds. Southwest nudged back in front, taking a 58-56 lead into the final seconds, and Dak’s 3-point attempt at the buzzer was partially blocked.

— Mike Sautter

No. 3 Bellevue West 48, No. 6 Papillion-La Vista South 39 

Bellevue West jumped out to an 11-0 start and led 14-1 at the end of the first quarter. Papio South evened out things in the second quarter by holding the T-Birds to just 11 points while scoring 11 of their own, but still trailed 25-12 at halftime.

At the start of the fourth quarter, the Titans cut the lead to just seven (37-30) but a 4-0 spurt to start the fourth quarter by the T-Birds dashed their hopes.

Naomi White scored 15 points to lead the Thunderbirds while Kenzie Melcher added 13. Freshman Addison Medeck scored 15 to lead the Titans.

The T-Birds advanced to the semifinals where they will take on No. 2 Lincoln Southwest at 7:45 p.m. Friday night.

— Mike Sautter

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