HASTINGS — Kennadi Keezer’s only two baskets came 42 seconds apart Tuesday.
But the Northwest junior couldn’t have scored at a more crucial time.
Her scores — including a 3-point play — came after Class C-2 No. 3-rated Hastings St. Cecilia closed to within three points with under three minutes left.
Keezer’s baskets proved to be the final two field goals in Class B No. 3 Northwest’s 45-37 victory.
“We believe in each other at all times, and it just worked out for Kennedi,” Northwest coach Mike Herzberg said. “She got some nice touches inside because she works hard, and our guards found her. She made two huge plays for us at a key time of the game.
“But we trust each other at all times, and tonight it just happened to be her at the crucial times.”
The Hawkettes (9-2) never led the game, but they also never let the Vikings (11-1) get too comfortable.
Northwest led 38-29 before freshman Shandra Farmer scored six unanswered points to pull the Hawkettes within 38-35.
Farmer hit a free throw with 5:31 left, got a steal and a layup 1:06 later and then drained a 3-pointer to close out her 13-point effort with 3:42 remaining.
“We were getting some stops defensively,” St. Cecilia coach Jahn Kile said. “I thought offensively in the first half we did some really nice things. We just didn’t make the shots to finish the plays. You like that when you can execute against their defense. It’s really tough.
“We hit some shots late and had it to three with two minutes to go. We put ourselves in a position to win, and that’s what you want to do.”
Needing to stop a St. Cecilia comeback late didn’t surprise Herzberg.
“They play hard and they have a lot of confidence,” he said. “It was a great team to play because we knew they weren’t going to go away.
“They should feel good about the season they’re having, and we’re happy to come over here and get out of here with a victory because that wasn’t an easy task.”
McKenzie Brown led Northwest with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
The Vikings outrebounded the Hawkettes 36-22, including a 24-9 advantage in the first half.
“They do a good job on the boards, and that’s what I circled on the marker board before we went out on the floor — ‘we’ve got to rebound on the defensive end,’” Kile said. “I think it cost us too much tonight.”
Both teams struggled offensively in the opening half. Northwest warmed up in the second quarter after a 5-for-14 first period and led 23-14 at the half.
St. Cecilia only made 4 of 24 shots (16.7 percent) in the first half.
Both teams saw solid shots fail to connect.
“We had a lot of nice looks early,” Herzberg said. “We had some 3-point attempts early in the game that just didn’t go down. We felt really good about our lead at that time because we believe in the way that we can shoot it. We’re not going to stop shooting it.
“Over time, we started making some of those threes and we were able to stretch the lead far enough so when they made their run, we were able to stay on top.”
Katie Placke added 10 points for the Vikings, who return to Hastings to face Adams Central on Friday.
The loss was just the start of a brutal week for St. Cecilia. The Hawkettes still face C-1 No. 1 Minden and No. 3 Kearney Catholic.
Northwest 45, Hastings St. Cecilia 37
Werner 2-3 0-0 5, Placke 4-10 1-3 10, Sorahan 3-7 0-0 7, Brown 6-14 4-4 18, Keezer 2-5 1-1 5, Westphal 0-2 0-0 0, Rathke 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-41 6-8 45.
HASTINGS ST. CECILIA (9-2)
Jackson 2-3 2-2 8, Hamburger 1-8 0-0 3, Schropp 2-9 0-0 6, Nikkila 1-8 0-0 2, Thomas 2-5 1-4 5, Shandra Farmer 4-10 3-4 13, Kitten 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 12-44 6-10 37.
Northwest..............................12 11 9 13—45
Hastings SC..............................4 10 10 13—37
3-point field goals—NW 5-15 (Werne 1-2, Placke 1-4, Sorahan 1-2, Brown 2-7), HSC 7-23 (Jackson 2-3, Farmer 2-5, Hamburger 1-5, Schropp 2-6, Nikkila 0-4). Fouled out—none. Rebounds—NW 36 (Brown 13), HSC 22 (Jackson 6). Assists—NW 9 (Werner 4), HSC 8 (Nikkila 3). Turnovers—NW 16, HSC 12. Total fouls—NW 8, HSC 12. Technicals—none.