Wayne Boys, Ponca Girls Suffer First Round State Tournament Losses 

LINCOLN – A pair of northeast Nebraska teams competing in Class C1 boys and Class C2 girls during the 2022 NSAA State Tournament were carried on KTCH/KCTY Tuesday late afternoon.

From the Bob Devaney Sports Center, #6 Wayne High opened the Class C1 quarterfinal with #3 Kearney Catholic for the second straight year and from Lincoln Southeast High School, #5 Ponca competed with #4 Crofton for the third time this season which also marked last year’s C2 girls final rematch.

From the Devaney, Kearney Catholic defeated Wayne, 47-40 to win their 20th straight game. The Stars improved to 26-1 while WHS saw their four-game winning streak come to an end falling to 24-4.

Last year, WHS began the state tournament with a 59-52 victory over the Stars.

Kearney Catholic led 7-4 after the first quarter and used a 14-13 second quarter to grow their lead to 21-17 at the break. The Stars outscored WHS, 11-4 in the third quarter before Wayne won the fourth, 19-15. Final favored Kearney Catholic, 47-40.

Wayne High was led in scoring by senior Tanner Walling with 12 points while junior Alex Phelps added 10 points (seven in the fourth). Senior Brandon Bartos sored all of his nine points in the fourth; junior Sedjro Agoumba finished with four points, junior Carter Junck tacked on three free throws as junior Daniel Judd fouled out with two points.

WHS shot 6-8 from the foul line.

The Stars were led by senior Turner Plugge with 12 points (7-10 FT in fourth), senior Dylan Merz followed with 10 points as did senior Garret Schmaderer who scored 10 points as  senior Brett Mahony was held to nine points. Senior Mason Mandernach finished with six points.

Kearney Catholic finished 18-27 at the charity stripe (13-18 in fourth).

Kearney Catholic will next face #2 Ashland-Greenwood (25-1) at 10:45 a.m. on Thursday from the PBA who defeated #7 Ogallala (22-5), 56-43.


At Lincoln Southeast High School, Crofton defeated Ponca, 41-38 to improve to 23-4. The Warriors have now won back-to-back while the Indians ended their season at 24-2 seeing their 14-game winning streak snapped.

Earlier this season, Crofton won 41-37 in Ponca on January 4 while Ponca won 52-41 in Crofton on February 17 during the subdistrict championship game.

Last year in the C2 finals, Crofton defeated Ponca, 46-42.

Ponca led after the first quarter, 11-10 as both teams scored 11 points in the second quarter. The Indians led 22-21 at the break. Crofton then outscored Ponca, 8-4 in the fourth before both teams scored 12 points in the fourth. Final favored Crofton, 41-38.

Ponca was led in scoring by junior Samantha Ehlers with 13 points as junior Ashlyn Kingsbury scored 11 points (6-8 FT). Junior Gracen Evan finished with eight points, junior Mattie Milligan scored four points as junior Ellie McAfee tacked on two points.

Ponca shot 8-11 at the foul line.

Crofton leaders were sophomore Caitlin Guenther with 14 points, senior Ella Wragge added nine points while seniors Alexis Folkers and Jayden Jordan both scored eight points. Freshman Sammie Allen also scored two points.

The Warriors finished 5-9 at the charity stripe.

Next up for Crofton will be #1 Hastings St. Cecilia (24-2) on Thursday, March 10 at 1:30 p.m. from the Devaney who defeated #8 Elkhorn Valley (22-5), 47-20.