World-Herald staff writer Mike Patterson has everything you need to know about Saturday's finals at the Nebraska high school girls state basketball tournament. All games are at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Note: Rankings are according to The World-Herald's class ratings
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No. 1 Lincoln Pius X (24-0) vs. No. 3 Fremont (23-3), 7 p.m.
The game: The Thunderbolts rode the strong play of Alexis Markowski — 30 points and 27 rebounds -- to a tough semifinal win over Omaha Central. The Tigers advance to the final for the first time, outlasting Millard South 70-64 in the other free-wheeling semi.
The pick: Give Fremont much credit for making it to the final but the returning champs get the nod to make it two titles in a row in Markowski's varsity finale.
No. 1 Norris (22-2) vs. No. 3 Elkhorn North (20-2), 2 p.m.
The game: The Titans had their hands full in a semifinal against York before prevailing 43-36. The Storm have won their two state tourney games by an average of 22 points.
The pick: Three-time state runner-up Norris gets the nod in quest of its first title but Elkhorn North, led by electric freshman Britt Prince, is certainly capable of the upset.
No. 1 Hastings St. Cecilia (24-2) vs. No. 4 North Bend (23-3), 10:45 a.m.
The game: The defending Class C-2 champion Hawkettes survived a defensive struggle against Lincoln Lutheran in the semifinals, doing just enough to win by four. The defending C-1 champion Tigers have looked impressive in wins over Broken Bow and Winnebago.
The pick: From what we've seen at state, North Bend appears the best; but St. Cecilia was the pick heading into the tourney so the Hawkettes get the ever-so-slight edge.
No. 1 Crofton (25-3) vs. No. 7 Ponca (21-4), 8:45 p.m.
The game: The Warriors have taken care of business in their first two games, winning by an average of 21 points. The Indians are coming off a solid 18-point win over BRLD, avenging an earlier-season loss.
The pick: Both teams have come close to titles in recent years but the edge goes to Crofton, which defeated Ponca during the regular season, to take home its ninth championship.
No. 1 Pleasanton (27-1) vs. No. 3 Weeping Water (23-5), 9 a.m.
The game: The defending-champion Bulldogs came out strong in the second half of its semifinal against Fremont Bergan and then had to hang on after missing several free throws down the stretch. The Indians survived an even tougher semifinal, defeating Hartington Cedar Catholic in overtime behind the strong play of UNO pledge Grace Cave.
The pick: This should be a close one but the nod goes to Pleasanton to make it two titles in a row.
No. 1 Humphrey St. Francis (24-0) vs. No. 2 Falls City Sacred Heart (26-2), 3:45 p.m.
The game: The Flyers won their first-rounder by 32 but were seriously tested in the semifinals by Mullen, holding on for a six-point win. The Irish knocked out their nemesis Wynot in the semifinals, pulling away in the second half to win by 14.
The pick: St. Francis has been ranked No. 1 all season and it says here the Flyers will nail down that elusive title with Nebraska pledge Allison Weidner leading the way.