Ponca Girls Crowned District Champions Fourth Consecutive Year; Ehlers And Kingsbury Combine For 43 Points

PONCA – With a trip to the girls state basketball tournament on the line, two northeast Nebraska high school programs separated by 45 miles put on a show Friday night.

From Ponca Public Schools, #5 Ponca welcomed in #12 Pender during the C2-5 District Final.

Ponca trailed 12-8 early in the first quarter and withstood a second half surge from Pender to hold off the Pendragons, 57-41. The Indians won their 14th straight game improving to 24-1 while Pender fell to 20-7.

Ponca will make their fourth straight trip to state and 11th appearance in postseason competition. The Indians have finished runner-up the last two seasons falling to Crofton (46-42) last year and Hastings St. Cecilia (41-37) the year prior.

Ponca led after the first quarter of 15-12 while the Indians extended their lead thanks to an 11-5 second quarter. Ponca led 26-17 at the break. Both teams then scored 16 points in the third quarter as the Indians outscored Pender, 15-8 in the final eight minutes to win 57-41.

Ponca was led in scoring by junior Samantha Ehlers with 22 points (4-4 FT) while fellow junior Ashlyn Kingsbury followed with 21 points (three, three-pointers). Senior Addie McGill and junior Mattie Milligan both scored six points as junior Gracen Evans tacked on two points.

The Indians finished 9-13 from the foul line.

Pender leaders were sophomore Avery Wegner with 18 points as junior Lillie Timm added 12 points. Senior Caitlyn Heise scored six points, freshman Maya Dolliver tallied four points and junior Olyvia Nelson finished with two points.

The Pendragons shot 5-10 from the charity stripe.

The 2022 NSAA Girls State Championships will go on during the same week as the Boys State Championships of Monday, March 7 – Saturday, March 12.

Class C2 girls first round games will be at 1:30 p.m.; 3:15 p.m.; 6 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. from Lincoln Southeast High School on Tuesday, March 8. Semifinal games will be at the Bob Devaney Sports Center at 1:30/3:15 p.m. on Thursday, March 10. The C2 third place game will be at 9 a.m. from Lincoln East on Friday, March 11 while the championship game will be at the Pinnacle Bank Arena at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 12.

Class C1 District games:

C1-1 (Lincoln Lutheran): #1 Lincoln Lutheran defeated #16 Fairbury, 38-18

C1-2 (Aurora): #2 Broken Bow defeated #15 Omaha Gross Catholic, 60-29

C1-3(Battle Creek): #3 North Bend Central defeated #14 Ainsworth, 58-32

C1-4 (North Platte HS): #4 Grand Island Central Catholic defeated #13 Chase County, 48-35

C1-5 (Wahoo): #12 BRLD defeated #5 Wahoo, 41-38

C1-6 (Gothenburg): #6 Gothenburg defeated #11 Milford, 36-29

C1-7 (St. Paul): #7 St. Paul defeated #10 Columbus Scotus, 42-35 OT

C1-8 (Malcolm): #8 Malcolm defeated #9 Syracuse, 46-36


Class C2 District games:

C2-1 (Hastings St. Cecilia): #1 Hastings St. Cecilia defeated #16 Centennial, 50-17

C2-2 (Guardian Angels Central Catholic): #2 GACC defeated #15 Norfolk Catholic, 44-30

C2-3 (North Platte Community College): #3 Bridgeport defeated #14 North Central, 59-48

C2-4 (Central Community College/Columbus): #4 Crofton defeated #13 Superior, 53-41

C2-5 (Ponca): #5 Ponca defeated #12 Pender, 57-41

C2-6 (Sutton): #6 Sutton defeated #11 Amherst, 57-44

C2-7 (Yutan): #10 Elkhorn Valley defeated #7 Yutan, 40-19

C2-8 (O’Neill): #8 Oakland-Craig defeated #9 Gordon-Rushville, 49-36


Class D1 District games:

D1-1 (Crete): #1 Elmwood-Murdock defeated #16 McCool Junction, 58-28

D1-2 (Wisner-Pilger): #2 Archbishop Bergan defeated #15 Plainview, 48-36

D1-3 (Columbus Lakeview HS): #14 Hartington Cedar Catholic defeated #3 Ravenna, 55-33

D1-4 (Hampton): #4 Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family defeated #13 Overton, 45-39

D1-5 (Holdrege): #5 Shelton defeated #12 Cambridge, 42-23

D1-6 (Kearney HS): #11 Nebraska Christian defeated #6 Alma, 47-36

D1-7 (Cross County): #7 Niobrara/Verdigre defeated #10 Johnson-Brock, 55-43

D1-8 (Shelby-Rising City): #9 BDS defeated #8 Elgin Public/Pope John, 63-57 OT

Class D2 District games:

D2-1 (Palmyra): #1 Falls City Sacred Heart defeated #16 Osceola, 63-23

D2-2 (Burwell): #2 Humphrey St. Francis defeated #15 Sandhills/Thedford, 65-42

D2-3 (Boone Central): #3 St. Mary’s defeated #14 Exeter-Milligan, 56-32

D2-4 (Hastings College): #4 Anselmo-Merna defeated #13 Parkview Christian, 27-26

D2-5 (Gibbon): #5 Sterling defeated #12 South Platte, 65-33

D2-6 (Paxton): #6 Crawford defeated #11 Silver Lake, 49-47

D2-7 (Wilcox-Hildreth): #10 Diller-Odell defeated #7 Wauneta-Palisade, 65-43

D2-8 (Ord): #9 Wynot defeated #8 Maywood-Hayes Center, 44-20