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BDS Wins District Final; Advances To State Tourney As No. 1 Seed

Bruning-Davenport/Shickley begins its quest to add a State basketball championship to its State football title this Thursday at Lincoln East High School.  The top-seeded 24-3 Eagles draw eighth-seeded (Fremont) Archbishop Bergan in its first round game beginning at 10:45 a.m., on March 10.

The 11-13 Knights upset defending State Champion High Plains to advance to Lincoln. AB is easily one of the most dangerous teams in the bracket owning six wins against Class C teams and a 5-2 record against Class D-1 squads. Using similar opponents, the Knights fell to (Nebraska City) Lourdes CC 55-41 and Aquinas Catholic 48-46, advantage BDS.  But, AB downed Douglas County West, 67-47, while the Eagles prevailed by just three points over the Falcons in the NWU Tourney, advantage Knights.
Last Tuesday, BDS traveled to Crete to play in the D1-1 District final. Doane College hosted the game with the opponent Lourdes CC for the third time in three years.  Two years ago, the 24-3 Knights kept the Eagles from advancing to the State tournament and last year, BDS turned it around and kept Lourdes CC from going.  
This time, both teams entered at the top of the Class D-1 wildcard standings with Lourdes CC coming in at No. 1 and BDS at No. 2 so both teams knew they would play at State.  
“That usually keeps kids a little looser and a lot of times it leads to some pretty exciting basketball,” Eagle coach Fred Kluck said.  “We’ve had this happen before and both teams just play hard and see how the game goes.  We both still want the win because the top seed at State is on the line, but it’s usually a pretty good game atmosphere.”
The first half of the game saw both teams a little tentative on offense and very solid on defense and went to the break with the game tied 19-19.  A key stat was the Knights were whistled for nine team fouls, while BDS only committed three first-half fouls.
“We had played at the MUDECAS Tournament earlier this year (a 44-39 BDS victory), so we both had a pretty good idea of how the other one would attack us,” Kluck said. “So half-time adjustments are pretty important once you get the other team's defense figured out. I felt we had gotten some good shots in the first half—we just couldn't get them to fall.  We just needed to relax—we're getting our shots, and they will get them to fall."
The third period saw Lourdes CC pull out to a five-point lead, but Caden Norder hit a big shot from the deep corner and the Eagles pulled even entering the final period at 28 apiece.  
“We needed to get some of our starters a little rest with the defensive effort being so intense,” Kluck said.  "Caden along with Noel Gines, Kendall Dickson and Ben Elznic really did a nice job in that third quarter helping us pull back to even.”
The fourth period was also back and forth as Cody Garland hit a big 3-point shot to go along with a couple of pull up jumpers by Riley Tegtmeier and Stuart Rohr to help the Eagles gain a small advantage with just a couple of minutes to play.  From there, the Eagles went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line and watched a last shot bounce away to secure the final margin of 45-40 and advance to the D-1 State Tournament as the top seed.  
Knight post Julius Sakinis was in foul trouble most of the second half and ended up fouling out.
"Their big kid got into some foul trouble and that helped us a lot—I can't lie," Kluck said.  "We have a hard time matching up with him."
Scoring was balanced as Tegtmeier led the way with 11 followed by Norder's 9.  Garland added 8 while Kale Kleinschmidt scored 5 to go with his team-high 7 assists.  Rohr and Dickson had 4 each while holding Sakinis to just four on the night.  Sam Christensen added 2 to go with his team high 6 rebounds and Elznic finished off the scoring with 2 as well.
Now, the Eagles will try and better last year's third-place finish in Lincoln.
"We're going to have to play well down there every game," Kluck said.  "We have to be focused...whomever we play there will be thinking the same thing we will be—we came here to win the whole thing."

And, there's always the possibility of meeting Lourdes CC (on the other side of the bracket) for a third time this year in the D-1 final.
"Having to play these guys again wouldn't be the worst thing in the world," said Kluck with a smile after his team's district final victory.  "Our kids are good, hard workers.  I think it's great for them to have this chance to go back there and compete for a title."