LINCOLN, Neb. | McKenna Sims scored 17 points as the fifth-seeded and the defending state champion South Sioux City girls basketball team defeated fourth-seeded Platteview 65-56 in the opening round of the Class B Nebraska state tournament at the Bob Devaney Sports Center here Thursday.
“I don’t think she left the court the entire game,” said South Sioux coach Molly Hornbeck about Sims. “She did a nice job of setting up her teammates.”
Taryn Christensen finished with 13 points for South Sioux (22-4). She also had the unenviable task of guarding Platteview’s top player, Payton Brotzki.
“Taryn Christensen did a nice job of containing Brotzki,” said Hornbeck. “She worked really hard.”
Brotzki, who scored over half of Platteview’s points, led the Trojans with 32.
“She’s going to play at Creighton next year,” said Hornbeck. “They picked up a good recruit there.”
Sabrina Starks scored 11 points for Platteview while Kyra Fischer and Marybeth Rasmussen both had 11 points for the Cardinals.
South Sioux ended the first half on an 8-0 run to take a 29-26 lead into halftime. The Cardinals then scored the first four points of the third quarter to extend their lead to 33-26. Fischer later had a layup, then made a pair of free throws to give South Sioux a 42-31 lead with about 3:30 left in the third quarter.
Platteview responded by ending the quarter on a 10-3 run to trim the Cardinals lead to 45-41.
“They were a really good team,” said Hornbeck.
The Trojans tied the game at 48-all and 50-all, but trailed the rest of the game. Brotzki scored on three straight possessions in the middle of the quarter, the final on a layup with a little more than two minutes left in the game to trim the South Sioux lead to 56-55. Platteview would only make one free throw for the remainder of the contest.
Following a foul on Brotzki, Christensen made a pair of free throws to give the Cardinals 58-55 lead. After a defensive stop, Rasmussen made a layup to extend the Cardinals lead to 60-55. South Sioux had another defensive stop, then Tiffany Tinker made a pair of free throws to move the lead to 62-55 with around 45 seconds left. Sims made a pair of free throws with 29 seconds left to put the game out of reach at 64-55.
“Credit all the girls for handling the pressure down the stretch and knocking down their free throws,” said Hornbeck.
Platteview ends its season at 23-4.
South Sioux, looking for its 13th state championship, plays the winner of top-seeded Sidney and eighth-seeded Beatrice in the state semifinals on Friday afternoon in Pinnacle Bank Arena.
“I could not be prouder of how these girls played tonight,” said Hornbeck. “They have their eyes set on tomorrow.”