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Nebraska high school boys basketball state tournament: Small-school classes crown champions

Wahoo ends state tournament frustration

The four smaller classes in Nebraska also crowned boys basketball champions on Saturday. See below for the winners.

Class C-1: Wahoo reigns again – Warriors win 12th state championship

Wahoo had all kinds of questions surrounding the team’s state-tournament mindset prior to tipping it off Thursday against Ogallala. 

The Warriors have lost in the first round of their last three trips to Lincoln - the last two as the No. 1 seed. All of that heartache came to an end Saturday in overtime of the Class C-1 championship.

Marcus Glock, center, and his Wahoo teammates raise the trophy in celebration moments after defeating Auburn for the Class C-1 state title on Saturday in Lincoln. Photo by @wahoopublic on X.

Marcus Glock, center, and his Wahoo teammates raise the trophy in celebration moments after defeating Auburn for the Class C-1 state title on Saturday in Lincoln. Photo by @wahoopublic on X.

Wahoo outscored Auburn 10-3 in the extra period and won the program’s 12th state title 49-42 over a Bulldog squad that was playing in its sixth straight title game.

Warrior senior Marcus Glock led all scorers with 23 after he had 24 the day before in a semifinal win over Omaha Concordia.

Auburn built a 33-26 lead to start the fourth quarter but then scored just six points in the final eight minutes and was forced into overtime. Wahoo had the first eight of overtime and cruised to the win – the first state trophy for Wahoo since winning the 2018 championship also in overtime.

Early on it looked more like a coronation than a competition. Wahoo was 6 of 9, 3 for 3 from the perimeter and led 15-3 after the first. Six Auburn turnovers were converted into 12 Wahoo points.

Everything switched in the second eight minutes. Wahoo was 1 of 13 and only had one point on seven offensive rebounds. Maverick Binder scored 10 for Auburn and the Bulldogs turned the tables on the Warriors 15-3 for an 18-18 halftime deadlock.

Binder capped a 7-0 Auburn run in the third quarter with a three-point play then hit a three with five seconds left in the third for a 33-26 advantage.

Wahoo scored the first seven in the fourth when Auburn missed two shots and gave it away on two other possessions. Glock hit a three with 2:37 left for a 38-37 Warrior lead and set up a pressure-packed finish. The two teams managed just three total points the rest of the way and sent the game to overtime.

Glock missed a three just before the final buzzer then teammate Dylan Simons came up just short on a fadeaway putback.

Those two combined for the first eight points in the extra frame and had the Warriors leading 47-39 with 32 ticks left on the clock. Auburn missed its first six shots.

Glock was 8 of 17 shooting and had five rebounds. Simons joined him in double digits with 17 and seven boards. Binder’s 19 points were the only double-figure total for Auburn.

“We got off to the great start, and Auburn is such a great team. Coach Weeks, there’s nobody better. He does a great job, and you knew they were going to make a run,” Wahoo coach Kevin Scheef said. “We got down seven and things were not looking good at all. But one way I describe this team all year long is resilient. They’re a resilient bunch. We didn’t put our heads down and start feeling bad for ourselves. We just kept plugging away and got back in it, and I’m just so proud of these guys for having that mental fortitude to stay with things.

“This is a special group. It has been an amazing year.”

Class C-2: Hadwiger, Amherst make good on second straight trip to championship game

Amherst senior Tayje Hadwiger has had his share of big moments in a big final varsity season. He averages over 20 points per game, has eclipsed 30 points twice and scored more than 20 in 14 games. But while he’s been consistently good, he was still picking up momentum late in the year.

Those two 30-point games came in the final five contests. He had 31 in the final regular season game then dropped 30 in the district championship. That momentum rolled into state where Hadwiger had 16 in the quarterfinals against Bridgeport, 30 against Cross County and 32 in Saturday’s 59-54 Class C-2 overtime championship win against Lincoln Lutheran.

Hadwiger had 19 of those in the second half, and 12 in the extra period, securing Amherst’s first boys basketball championship after four previous runners-up.

“It’s just awesome. I had two great games at the end, and it’s just an amazing feeling hitting those shots,” Hadwiger said. “It’s just nothing you could ever experience before.”

Hadwiger scored his 32 points despite foul trouble and just 25 minutes of playing time. Coach Eric Rippen took him off the floor after his second foul with 3:42 to go in the first quarter and, other than the final possession later in the first and at the end of the half, he sat from that point until halftime.

However, Amherst had been through something similar on Wednesday when Hadwiger also sat for long stretches during the win over Bridgeport because of foul trouble. Amherst led Saturday’s championship 11-5 when he exited in the first quarter and had the same five-point, 16-11, advantage at the end of the period.

The Broncos scored just two points in the second quarter but also allowed only eight and trailed 19-18. Hadwiger returned in the third and had eight points. Amherst went from down one to up one 34,-33.

He had all seven Bronco points in the fourth quarter and hit a jumper with 20 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. Lincoln Lutheran failed to get an attempt off for the game-winner because of an errant pass.

Hadwiger scored Amherst’s first nine points in overtime and the Broncos scored eight of the first 10. His heroics, including 7 of 8 from the line in the extra four minutes, made Amherst history.

“After leaving here last year, being in the other interview room, we had an unsettled stomach from all of us,” coach Eric Rippen said. “The feeling wasn’t very fun. [It was] kind of the driving force behind these three seniors – Hadwiger, Austin Adelung, Carter Riessland – and the guys that were coming back to push through this year.”

Class D-1: Johnson-Brock completes perfect season for back-to-back titles

Only two teams have played Johnson-Brock to within single digits all season. When the Eagles came to Lincoln looking to make it two in a row, they were winning games by an average of 30 points. Many games were over by halftime; most by the start of the fourth quarter.

But things weren’t going exactly to plan in the first quarter of Saturday’s Class D-1 state championship. Johnson-Brock missed its first two shots, committed an offensive foul then gave away a turnover on its other early possession. Halfway through the period, the Eagles trailed 7-0.

Over the next 11 minutes and 18 seconds, Johnson-Brock turned it around and led the rest of the way. The Eagle defense limited the Bulldogs to 4 of 15 the rest of the half, forced eight turnovers and went into the half 24-12.

Sophomore Brody Koehler led all scorers with 19 points and gave Johnson-Brock its largest lead of 17 on a putback with 4:59 left in the third.

Ainsworth created some late drama with back-to-back threes from Traegan McNally and cut the lead to three with 2:21 left in the game. But Johnson-Brock went 6 of 10 from the line down the stretch to close it out 52-45.

Camden Dalinghaus joined Koehler in double-digits with 15 points and six rebounds. He went 10 of 12 from the line including 5 of 6 in the fourth quarter. Trey Applet (17), Carter Nelson (14) and McNally (14) led Ainsworth in scoring. Johnson-Brock finished the year 28-0.

“We’re just so blessed to be able to do what we’re able to do with this group of kids,” Johnson-Brock coach Lucas Dalinghaus said. “We’ve got our seniors over there that have just given so much over the past several years. I’m just so thankful for having the opportunity to do this. This game, we knew, would be difficult. They were going to be tough. They were going to be ready to go. There was a lot of attention on this game, and we talked that we just need to play our game, play the way we’re capable of playing, and we would be fine.”

Class D-2: More than a century later, Bulldogs are back on top

Senior Riley Bombeck joked during postgame interviews that he was rested from the night before when he fouled out and didn’t play in overtime. An extra four minutes doesn’t sound like much, but for Shelton and Wynot it was three overtimes and the longest game in Class D-2 state tournament history.

Who’s to say if that really made a difference, but Bombeck was the difference in the final quarter a night later during a 63-60 Shelton Class D-2 win over Maywood-Hayes Center. He scored 10 of the Bulldogs’ 15 points in the fourth and turned a six-point lead to start the fourth into an insurmountable 13-point advantage just two minutes into the final frame.

Senior teammate Ashton Simmons had 17 and nine rebounds, Shelton shot 50% both overall and from long range and the Bulldogs brought home the first boys hoops state title since 1919.

Shelton separated itself early with a 10-0 run to start the second quarter but saw that lead whittled down to just three, 21-18 at halftime. A Simmons three with 1:38 to go in the third stretched the Bulldog advantage back to double digits 37-27.

Shelton started the fourth up six then had six from Bombeck before the quarter was two minutes old. That put the Bulldogs up 13 and established a cushion they never relinquished. Shelton led by at least 11 the rest of the way and brought home its first title since just a few months before the conclusion of World War I.

“I thought we executed really well throughout the game offensively, and we did a good job defensively to make them work to get points, ” Shelton coach Will Reutzel said.

--Nathan Charles | @SBLiveNeb