LINCOLN — Class D-2 No. 1 Spalding/Spalding Academy put together one run and then had to hold off No. 6 Wausa in the late going.
The Knights put together a 12-1 run in the third and fourth quarters in building an 11-point lead before holding on to a 65-62 victory over Wausa in the first round of the Class D-2 state tournament Thursday at Lincoln North Star.
The Vikings had a chance to send the game into overtime on the final position, but Marcus Claussen's 3-pointer was tipped as time expired.
The win puts the Knights into the semifinals with a matchup with No. 7 Leyton at 2 p.m. Friday at the Pershing Center.
“I thought we got complacent once we built that lead,” SSA coach Joe Imus said. “We were playing more not to lose instead of winning. But we overcame that at the end and did what we had to do to get the win.”
Kyle Bloom, who led all scorers with 24 points, buried his third 3-pointer of the third quarter to give the Knights a 45-42 lead.
Early in the fourth quarter, SSA scored on four straight possessions. Cain Haschke and Bronc McKay Bloom hit back-to-back baskets, and a Bloom 3-pointer gave the Knights a 52-43 lead. McKay made it 54-43 on a layup.
Wausa refused to give up. After SSA took it up to 58-47, Devon Munter and Austin Conn hit back-to-back 3s to cut it to 58-53.
Spalding/Spalding Academy kept its lead with two baskets from Haschke but were only 15 of 27 from the free-throw line, including 5 of 11 in the fourth quarter. That allowed Wausa to hang around and try to force overtime.
The Vikings hung around by hitting 14 of 18 free throws in the game.
“We are not a strong free throw line shooting and they are,” Imus said. “I think we are barely over 50 percent on the season. We just weren't making ours but a lot of that might have been nerves as well with it being the state tournament.”
Wausa, who was led by Claussen's 21 points, was hampered by 22 turnovers in the contest. Despite that, Viking coach Tylor Fincher said he was happy to see Wausa not give up after Spalding/Spalding Academy build an 11-point fourth quarter lead.
“The kids showed some resiliency after the run Spalding/Spalding Academy made,” Fincher said. “We gave ourselves a chance and that's all we can ask for.”
Wausa (22-4)................................................10 18 15 19—62
Spalding/Spalding Academy (24-2)........................11 20 14 20—65
W: Conn 16, Munter 3, Claussen 21, Friedrich 6, Wakeley 9, Kleinschmit 2, Rosberg 5.
SSA: Glaser 9, Bloom 24, J. Glaser 2, McKay 14, Haschke 10, Berger 3, Hudson 2, Hartley 1.
Officals: Justin Pavich, Ken Mar, Chris Kabourek.