LINCOLN – Day two action came to an end for the 2020 NSAA girls state basketball tournament with the Ponca Indians advancing to the championship game after knocking out the top seed in Class C2.
From the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln, the Class C2 semifinals closed out Friday evening as the top four seeds advanced from Thursday’s quarterfinal round.
Following a back-and-forth opening half, #4 Ponca again started the third strong regaining the lead early in the quarter and never looked back winning 53-44 over #1 Oakland-Craig. The Indians improved to 23-4 while Oakland-Craig fell to 26-2 as Ponca avenged last year’s first round state tourney loss to the Knights.
Ponca will be playing in their second-ever state championship game. Their first came in 1993 when Cambridge defeated Ponca 65-51. Only two of the six top seeds survived Friday and Saturday as #1 Crete in Class B and #1 Lincoln Christian in Class C1 advanced to Saturday’s finals as the top team in their respective classes.
Ponca took the early lead at 11-8 in the opening quarter before Oakland-Craig answered with a 17-12 second. At the break, Oakland-Craig led 25-23. The Indians then outscored the Knights in the second half to control the game at 12-7 in the third and 18-12 in the fourth.
Ashlyn Kingsbury stole the show knocking down a trio of three-pointers finishing with a team-best 20 points (9-12 FT) while Kaci Day followed with 16 points (7-11 FT). Other Ponca scoring came from Alyssa Crosgrove with nine points, Samantha Ehlers added five points and Maggie McGill finished with three points at the foul line.
The Indians shot 12-20 from the charity stripe in the fourth and finished the game 23-36.
The Kinghts were led in scoring by Kennedy Benne with 20 points as Makenna Pearson tallied nine points.
Oakland-Craig finished 8-15 from the free throw line.
The second C2 semifinal saw #3 Hastings St. Cecilia edge #2 Crofton, 62-60. #4 Ponca will face St. Cecilia at 8:30 p.m. Saturday night from the Pinnacle Bank Arena while Crofton will take on #1 Oakland-Craig at 1 p.m. from Lincoln East HS in the consolation round.
Friday area results:
#5 Archbishop Bergan defeated #8 Hartington Cedar Catholic, 40-34. Cedar will next face #2 CWC at 11 a.m. from Lincoln East HS for the D1 consolation round.
#4 Wynot defeated #1 Falls City Sacred Heart, 37-27. Wynot will next face #2 Humphrey St. Francis at 4:30 p.m. from the PBA for the Class D2 championship game.
Saturday consolation schedule (Lincoln East HS):
Class D2 (9 a.m.): #1 Falls City Sacred Heart vs. #3 Mullen
Class D1 (11 a.m.): #2 Chambers/Wheeler Central vs. #8 Hartington Cedar Catholic
Class C2 (1 p.m.): #1 Oakland-Craig vs. #2 Crofton.
Class C1 (3 p.m.): #4 St. Paul vs. #7 Adams Central
Saturday finals schedule (Pinnacle Bank Arena):
Class D1 (9 a.m.): #3 Pleasanton vs. #5 Archbishop Bergan
Class C1 (11 a.m.): #1 Lincoln Christian vs. #3 North Bend Central
Class B (1 p.m.): #1 Crete vs. #2 Beatrice
Class D2 (4:30 p.m.): #2 Humphrey St. Francis vs. #4 Wynot
Class A (6:30 p.m.): #3 Lincoln East vs. #4 Lincoln Pius X
Class C2 (8:30 p.m.): #4 Ponca vs. #3 Hastings St. Cecilia