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Class C-1: Fourth-quarter rally gives North Bend back-to-back state basketball titles

Class C-1: Fourth-quarter rally gives North Bend back-to-back state basketball titles

LINCOLN — Sydney Emanuel stayed perfect at the free-throw line and North Bend had its first lead of the second half.

But 6.4 seconds remained and almost everyone in Pinnacle Bank Arena could assume who would take the final shot for Hastings St. Cecilia — Bailey Kissinger, who had a career-high 33 points and tied the Class C-1 tournament record with 14 field goals.

Cierra Kluthe stood her ground as Kissinger drove for the layup. It hit high off the glass, but it was too strong, and North Bend had a 51-49 win and back-to-back state titles.

“I was right there. And one of my other teammates was right with her,” Kluthe said. “I just stood straight up and was like, ‘Don’t let her (draw the foul) but try to get in her way.’”

No. 4 North Bend (24-3) trailed the top-ranked Hawkettes (24-3) by 11 after three quarters. The Tigers were shooting 28 percent at the time and a 2-for-8 final quarter was worse yet.

But from the line, the basket was open. The Tigers made 14 of their last 15 free throws — 8 of 8 for Sydney Emanuel, 4 of 5 for younger sister Kaitlyn and 2 of 2 for Kluthe.

Sydney was 12 of 12 for the game and 21 of 23 including Friday’s semifinal. She said many times she’s worked on free throws in practice with the scenario of “if you make these two you win the state championship, so that’s kind of what was going through my head.”

She led North Bend with 20 points. Kaitlyn had 19 points and 10 rebounds.

St. Cecilia shot 61 percent through three quarters. But only two of its final 15 tries went in.

“We had some good point-blank looks and they didn't fall and for whatever reason everything they threw up it seemed like went in,” Hawkettes coach Greg Berndt said. “That thing tightened up in a hurry. I knew North Bend’s a great team and they made a run. And all you want is a chance.”

Kissinger’s layup gave St. Cecilia a 49-46 lead with 54 seconds left. It lasted 14 seconds until Kaitlyn Emanuel wiped it out with a 3.

It was the first final pitting champions from the previous season since 2012, when Wynot repeated as D-2 champion by beating 2011 D-1 winner Howells in overtime. The only other such matchup was in 2005, when West Point Guardian Angels won its fourth consecutive Class C-2 title by beating 2004 D-1 winner Exeter-Milligan.

“Things went into place,” North Bend coach Aaron Sterup said. “We got some steals and kind of clawed our way back slowly and by the end it’s knocking down free throws. It’s kind of a whirlwind yet.”

North Bend (24-3).....................12 13 7 19—51

Hastings St. Cecilia (24-3)..........15 10 18 6—49

NB: Sydney Emanuel 4-15 12-12 20, Kaitlyn Emanuel 6-19 6-9 19, Ally Pojar 2-2 1-2 5, Cierra Kluthe 1-11 2-2 4, Hannah Williams 1-3 0-2 2 3, Madelyn Gaughen 0-0 0-0 0, Madison Bishop 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-51 21-27 51.

HSC: Bailey Kissinger 14-30 4-8 33, Adeline Kirkegaard 5-8 0-0 10, Shaye Butler 2-2 2-2 6, Katharine Hamburger 0-1 0-0 0, Erin Sheehy 0-2 0-0 0, Hannah Schneider 0-0 0-0 0, Ryann Sabatka 0-0 0-0 0, Tatum Krikac 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 21-44 6-10 49.

3-point goals: NB 2-8 (S. Emanuel 0-1, K. Emanuel 1-2, Kluthe 0-2, Williams 1-3), HSC 1-4 (Kissinger 1-2, Sheehy 0-2). Total fouls: NB 11, HSC 21. Fouled out: Sheehy. Technicals: none. Turnovers: NB 5, HSC 17. Rebounds: NB 30 (K. Emanuel 10), HSC 33 (Kirkegaard 10). Field-goal percentage: NB .375, HSC .477. Fre-throw percentage: NB .778, HSC .600

Class C-1 third place

Lincoln Lutheran 64, Winnebago 25: Addi Ernstmeyer had 13 points and Elsa Meyer came off the bench for 12.

Lincoln Lutheran (21-3)........16 17 17 14—64

Winnebago (16-12).................10 2 9 4—25

LL: Addi Ernstmeyer 13, Elsa Meyer 12, Abby Wachal 9, Katelyn Oxley 8, Shanae Bergt 8, Jenna Luebbe 7, Jamison Wahl 3, Reagan Holle 2, Mollie Martin 2.

W: Keisha Snyder 13, Sylvia Valentino 4, Natasha Deal 4, Tavey Sheridan 3, Auriah Mean 1

Nebraska girls basketball tournament Saturday

Omaha World-Herald: Nebraska Prep Zone

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Reporter - High school sports

Stu is The World-Herald's lead writer for high school sports and for golf. Follow him on Twitter @stuOWH. Email

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