LINCOLN — Falls City Sacred Heart used a 13-0 run in the final 2:09 of the third quarter to shake off pesky Ewing and roll to a 58-39 victory in the opening round of the Class D-2 state tournament at Lincoln Southwest.
The underdog Tigers played toe-to-toe with the top-seeded Irish in the first quarter and led 9-8 following Miranda Summers’ baseline 3 with 1:40 on the clock. Randee Witt’s 3 a minute later had the Irish on top after one.
“I told people, don’t get caught up with we’re the one and they’re the eight seed,” Sacred Heart coach Luke Santo said. “They’re a very scary team.”
Sacred Heart started the second quarter on a 9-3 run. Erison Vanderschmidt’s free throw had the Irish on top 20-12 with just over two minutes to play in the half.
Ewing trailed by eight when Tiana Thramer stole a pass and dribbled the length of the court for a layup with two seconds left to make the score 22-16 at the break.
Sacred Heart increased its lead to 11 early in the third quarter. Ahren Ebel’s bucket had the Irish on top 29-18 with a little more than five minutes on the clock.
But the Tigers responded quickly. Ashley Koenig’s transition layup along with 3-pointers from Brenna Wagner and Summers had the Tigers within 29-26 with 3:55 left in the quarter.
After the two teams traded buckets, the Irish closed the third with the 13-0 run. Eleven of those points came from Rachel Magdanz, including back-to-back treys in the final 32 seconds to make the score 44-27 heading into the fourth quarter.
“I thought we got fatigued a little bit,” Ewing coach Greg Appleby said. “We’ve had some sickness going in. We weren’t moving as quick in our zone and they were making passes through it and making that extra pass and finding the open shooter.
“And give them credit, you’ve still got to hit the shots and they hit some shots in that last three-minute stretch of the third quarter, which gave them a cushion, which is tough against them because when they have the lead in the fourth quarter, they pull the ball out. That’s the Dean Smith four-corners from the 60s.”
Magdanz led the Irish with a game-high 19 points — 17 in the second half — while Vanderschmidt added 16.
Wagner’s 11 points paced the Tigers while Stallbaum had 10.
Ewing ends its season with a record of 19-6.
Sacred Heart improved to 24-3 and will face Sterling for the fifth time this season in Friday’s semifinal at the Devaney Center. The Irish have won three of the first four meetings.
“No secrets. They know us, we know them,” Santo said. “You come this far, you’re going to have to show up and play and you know anything can happen in a one-game scenario.
Opening tip is set for 7 p.m.
Ewing (19-6) ……………………………… 9 7 11 12—39
Falls City Sacred Heart (23-3) ………. 11 11 22 14—58
EWING: Sidney Stallbaum 10, Brenna Wagner 11, Jaidyn Schindler 1, Ashley Koenig 9, Tiana Thramer 2, Miranda Summers 6
FALLS CITY SACRED HEART: McKenzie Witt 5, Ahren Ebel 4, Erison Vanderschmidt 16, Danielle Bippes 6, Rachel Magdanz 19, Randee Witt 8
Officials: Andrew Hurt, Jacob McLain, Scott Schukar
D2 Semi-Finals: Falls City Sacred Heart vs. Sterling
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Bob Devaney Sports Center
Radio: B103 (103.1 FM), Ol’ Red 99.5 FM, ncnsportsnow.com