LINCOLN -- Class C2 No. 1 Ponca will get a shot to defend its state title.
The Indians beat No. 5 BRLD 50-33 in Friday’s semifinal at the Devaney Sports Center.
It was their second victory of the season over the Wolverines. Friday’s game was a contrast to the first meeting, a 50-42 win on Dec. 21, in which Ponca shot 1 of 19 on 3-pointers.
Ponca came out hot Friday, hitting six 3-pointers in the first quarter, four of them by Carter Kingsbury.
“I felt like it helped that we hit a couple shots and Carter got going early,” Ponca coach Adam Poulosky said. “I think our defense was locked in for the whole game. We made them work for absolutely everything every possession, and to me that was the difference, to hold them to 33 points.”
The Indians (29-1) led 22-13 after the first quarter, but did not hit another three-pointer after the opening period. They were able to control the tempo and keep BRLD’s offense in check.
“They play very smart defense, and that is their staple,” Wolverines coach Cory Meyer said. “They don’t make mistakes.”
BRLD (25-3) managed only three field goals in the second half.
“Ever since we won it last year, we’ve wanted to get back there and prove that we’re better than last year,” said Ponca's Max Masin, who scored 12 points. “I think that’s a bonus. We’ve been here before and we know how to win. We’re going to get it done.”
Kingsbury led all scorers with 18 points. Lucas Vogt, who hit the game-winning three-pointer for BRLD against Elmwood-Murdock in Thursday’s quarterfinal, finished with nine points, seven of which came at the free-throw line.
Meyer said he is proud of his team’s effort.
“I’m very happy for our team. I know they’re disappointed right now, but there’s nothing to be disappointed with the season that we had,” he said, “Coming into the tournament 24-2 and getting a win against E-M. It’s been a great season, it’s been a fun season, and hopefully tomorrow we can end on a high note.
Ponca will take on No. 2 Hastings St. Cecilia in Saturday’s championship game at 4:30 p.m.