LINCOLN — The towns that make up the Boone Central/Newman Grove athletic partnership all will experience a boys basketball state final for the first time.
The No. 2 Cardinals overcame a sluggish start Friday to defeat Kimball 53-33 in the Class C-1 semifinals at Devaney Center. They will play No. 1 Wahoo at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Devaney in the first final for Albion, Petersburg or Newman Grove.
“We're going to make sure we handle things OK,'' Cardinals coach Dan Zoucha said. “(Saturday) in our workout we'll get after the things we need to do to attack their 1-3-1 zone. We have to handle pressure and get a few shots to fall.”
Tyler Hedlund led the Cardinals (22-6) with 20 points and Pierce Koch came off the bench to sink three 3-pointers in the second quarter and finish with 13 points.
Kimball (21-2) had a pair of leads at the start, but went scoreless for more than six minutes while falling behind by eight early in the second quarter.
Michael Daum, the Longhorns' center who had 24 points and 16 rebounds in Thursday's overtime win over Gibbon, picked up two fouls in the first quarter and fouled out with 2:59 left in the third.
The 6-foot-8 Daum had six points on 2-of-13 shooting. Kimball's Jake Reader, its second-leading scorer during the season, had a team-high 11 points before he fouled out in the final quarter.
“Defensively, we did a pretty good job early,'' Longhorns coach Bruce Tjosvold said. “I think we were overaggressive, getting some over-the-back calls and things where we were trying to make a play and went too far.
“For us, once Mike's in foul trouble the game changes.”
Kimball (21-2) ........................... 4 9 10 10—33
Boone Central/NG (23-6) ........ 9 15 10 19—53
K: Jake Reader 11, Caleb Rucks 8, Michael Daum 6, Nolan Adrian 2, Zack Rockhold-O'Brien 2, Henry Heeg 2, Austin Kile 2.
BC: Tyler Hedlund 20, Pierce Koch 13, Carter Johnson 6, Beau Bremer 9, Hallick Lehmann 1, Derek Gentrup 2, Hunter Henry 2.
Officials: Justin Pavich, Ken Mar, Chris Kabourek.
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