LINCOLN — Back-to-back comebacks have Norris playing Saturday night for the school's first state title in girls basketball.
The No. 3 Titans, who trailed by 11 in the third quarter, went 8 of 10 at the line for all of their points in overtime to defeat No. 2 Beatrice 59-54 in the Class B semifinals at the Devaney Center.
“They did an awesome job of hanging in there, chipping away basket by basket, and not trying to get it all at once,” Titans coach Mark Hagerman said. “We got in a offensive flow a little bit, got the ball inside where we wanted it to go.”
It was the Titans' first win this season over Beatrice after losses of 46-36 in the regular season and 38-29 in last weekend's district final. They made the semifinals with a 44-43 win Thursday over No. 4 Gretna.
Hagerman's two starting forwards — and the team's scoring leaders — combined for 35 points. Kasey Hohlen, a 6-foot-2 junior, had 20 points and 6-1 senior Bridget Bucher had 15.
“It looked like we had an advantage with Kasey on their post,” Hagerman said.
To get to overtime, Norris (19-6) overcame Beatrice's leads of 36-25 and 38-29 in the third quarter. It trailed only 40-35 to start the fourth, then twice came within a point before Beatrice's Jill Faxon threw to Hanah Barnard for a 3 with 3:52 to play.
Faxon led the Lady Orange (20-3) with 20 points. Barnard, who had 31 points on Thursday, finished with 16.
Norris used a 6-1 run to go ahead 51-50, its first lead since 11-10, on baskets by Bucher, Hohlen and Bucher again. Faxon made the first of two free throws with 35.6 seconds left to tie the game.
Beatrice was 8 of 16 at the line. Norris was 17 of 20, with Hohlen going 4 of 4 at the line in overtime and her older sister, junior guard Kylie, hitting 4 of 6.
“To win a state championship, you have to get to the line and you have to make free throws,” Beatrice coach Ryan Luke said. “We had to do better than that.”
Norris (19-6) ................. 11 10 14 16 8—59
Beatrice (20-3) ................. 12 16 12 11 3—54
N: Kasey Hohlen 20, Bridget Bucher 15, Kylie Hohlen 9, Hannah Hoefler 9, Andrea Jameson 2, Emma Areman 2, Alix Bryant 2.
B: Jill Faxon 20, Hanah Barnard 16, Kim Higgins 7, Chantel Adams 5, Tori Sutter 2, Courtney Jurgens 2, Taylor Osborn 2.
Officials: Travis Baumann, Chris Carlson, Dave Uldrich.
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