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2024 Girls State Basketball State Tournament Championships Roundup

by Mar 3, 2024Preps Girls Basketball

2024 Girls State Basketball State Tournament Championships Roundup
Photo Credit: Mike Sautter

Nebraska crowned its six state champions at the Girls Basketball State Tournament on Saturday.

The Hurrdat Sports Team posted up at Pinnacle Bank Arena to bring you complete coverage throughout the day.

Previous Coverage: Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

CLASS D1: No. 1 Pender 39, No. 3 Southern Valley 24

The Pendragons held the Eagles without a field goal for nearly an entire half of basketball to build a lead too big for Southern Valley to overcome, securing Pender’s second straight state title.

After taking home the C2 title and graduating seven seniors a year ago, the Pendragons did it again in D1 to start the championship festivities at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Southern Valley took a 5-4 lead on a three-point play from sophomore Tori Bose two and a half minutes into the game then didn’t make a field goal again until 90 seconds into the second half. Pender used a 12-1 run spanning three quarters to build a 16-6 lead before senior Ann Bose banked in a 3-pointer.

The older Bose, Southern Valley’s leading scorer, put up seven in the third quarter after a scoreless first half to cut the deficit to six, but that’s as close as the Eagles would get as Pender stretched it back out and maintained control throughout the fourth quarter.

Maya Dolliver scored a game-high 16 points on 5-of-8 from the field (1-of-2 from 3) and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line. Avery Wegner, the only senior on the roster, and sophomore Hadley Walsh chipped in nine points apiece. Pender’s tough man-to-man defense held Southern Valley to 24.3% shooting.

— Jacob Padilla

CLASS C1: No. 1 Lincoln Christian 38, No. 2 Sidney 26

Lincoln Christian led wire to wire in the second state championship of the day.

Offense was hard to come by in the first sixteen minutes of the game. The Crusaders held an 8-5 lead after the first quarter and led 16-9 at the half. Junior Mattea Kassebaum and sophomore Jessa Hueser combined to outscore the Raiders in the first half with five points a piece. The teams combined to shoot just 7-of-35 in the half.

Lincoln Christian led by as much as 18 in the third quarter and, despite finishing the game without a field goal in the final 2:59 of play, held on to win the third state championship in school history and first since 2017.

Kassebaum finished with a game-high 15 points, all coming form the free throw line (15-of-18). Hueser added 12 points and seven rebounds while accounting for five of Christian’s seven total field goals in the game.

— Mike Sautter

CLASS B: No. 2 Elkhorn North 49, No. 1 Skutt Catholic 47

Most of the time, the third part of a trilogy doesn’t live up to its predecessors. That wasn’t the case Saturday afternoon in Lincoln. With Elkhorn North looking for their fourth straight state championship and third in a row over Skutt, the Wolves got an unsuspecting hero.

Trailing 42-37 early in the fourth, sophomore Kara Kudlacz scored five straight Elkhorn North points to tie the game up with 3:59 left in the game. The junior entered the game without a point in the state tournament and averaged just 2.3 points on the season.

Elkhorn North’s Britt Prince led the Wolves with 17 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, but the the SkyHawks defended her as well as anyone ever has, holding her to 8-of-23 shooting. Molly Ladwig and Drake commit Peyton McCabe answered every big play the Wolves threw at them, including a game-tying 3-pointer from McCabe with 20 seconds left in the game.

Elkhorn North put the ball in Prince’s hands to use a ball screen, but a SkyHawk defender ran right through it and put senior Reese Booth at the foul line with eight seconds left. The Northern Iowa volleyball signee knocked down both free throws, then forced a miss from Ladwig on defense to seal the game for Elkhorn North. Booth finished with eight points and 11 rebounds.

Ladwig led Skutt with 20 points while McCabe added 12 on 4-of-10 from 3. Junior Kamryn Kasner chipped in 10 points and six rebounds.

— Mike Sautter

CLASS C2: No. 1 Yutan 55, No. 2 Crofton 36

Yutan cruised to the first state championship in school history as the Tichota sisters nearly outscored the Warriors by themselves.

Sophomore Mylee Tichota scored a game-high 19 points on 5-of-7 from the field (1-of-1 from 3) and 8-of-9 from the line while grabbing seven rebounds. Senior Maura Tichota added 16 points on 50% shooting and five assists. Sophomore Jade Lewis chipped in a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The Chieftains didn’t trail in the game and held a lead for 30:51 of the 32 minutes. They led by as many 24 and late in the fourth quarter.

— Mike Sautter

CLASS A: No. 1 Millard West 58, No. 3 Bellevue West 55

The Wildcats rallied from a 12-point first-half deficit and held on at the buzzer to secure their first girls basketball state championship.

Millard West finished 27-1 with its only loss coming to the undefeated champion of Iowa’s largest class.

After struggling in Millard West’s first two tournament games, junior Neleigh Gessert showed up in a big way on Saturday with 29 points on 10-of-18 from the field (5-of-10 from 3) and 4-of-4 from the line and seven rebounds.

Bellevue West opened the game with a 9-3 run as the Wildcats missed nine of their first 10 shots, but Millard West rallied to take the lead to open the second quarter. However, they went cold again as the Thunderbirds ripped off a 15-2 run to build a 29-17 lead.

Then Gessert took over, hitting three straight 3s to get her team back into the game as Bellevue West took a 31-27 lead into halftime. The Thunderbirds maintained that four-point advantage midway through the third until their offense went cold.

Millard West went on a 10-0 run over a five-minute span to take a 47-41 lead 90 seconds into the final period, a lead they would not relinquish. Bellevue West pushed back throughout the period, but each time Millard West had the answer.

The Gessert twins, Norah and Neleigh, hit back-to-back 3s to push the lead to eight with just over two minutes to play, but Bellevue West responded with a 7-0 run featuring a layup then a deep 3 from Ahnica Russell-Brown and a pair of free throws from Naomi White with 36.3 to play.

The Wildcats left the door open with four straight missed free throws, but they forced two turnovers to get the ball back and Neleigh Gessert hit a pair to push the lead back to three with less than five seconds to play and White’s 3 at the buzzer didn’t fall.

Sophomore Kylee Paben notched a double-double for the Wildcats with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Senior Dani Coyer led three Thunderbirds in double figures with a career-high 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting including a career-best 3-of-4 from 3.

— Jacob Padilla

CLASS D2: No. 1 Overton 44, No. 3 Wynot 40

A dominant performance on the boards from Natalie Wood lifted Overton past Wynot to secure the Eagles’ first girls basketball championship, just four months after all of the same players delivered Overton’s first volleyball state title.

Wood grabbed 23 rebounds, including 11 on the offensive end, scored a team-high 14 points on 6-of-9 from the field and 2-of-2 from the line. She had six points and eight rebounds in the fourth quarter alone.

Wynot raced out to a 9-2 lead in the first half then pushed the advantage to nine two minutes into the second quarter before the game flipped. The Blue Devils missed their last seven shots as Overton closed the half on a 12-0 run to take a 23-20 lead at the break.

Overton maintained its lead throughout the second half, though Wynot continued to battle. A Kinslee Heimes layup made it a three-point game with less than three to play, but Ashlyn Florrell drew a foul and hit one free throw. Wood rebounded the second and put it back up, then Wood grabbed another offensive rebound on the next possession which led to a JoLee Ryan bucket to put Overton up 43-35 with less than two to play.

Kenna Oligmueller scored a layup and Heimes hit a 3 to trim the deficit to three with 11.5 to play, but Adysen McCarter hit a free throw to seal the game.

Daisy Ryan added 11 points while shooting 3-of-6 from deep for the Eagles.

Heimes led Wynot with 18 points and Oligmueller chipped in 11.

— Jacob Padilla

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