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E-M Defeated By Eventual State Champs In First Round Nailbiter

Timberwolf coaches Jackson Krejci and Tim Wilbeck watch the offense work on Thursday afternoon.

Exeter-Milligan's Mariah Bigelow drives the baseline.

As it turned out, Exeter-Milligan played Howells as close as anyone did in the 2011 NSAA State Class D-1 Basketball Tournament.

Unfortunately for the 24-2 Timberwolves, E-M tangled with the eventual State Champions in the opening round of this year's tournament. The 20-4 Bobcats prevailed over the Timberwolves 42-39 in a contest that was close throughout and could have gone either way for sure.

The two teams played to a 23-23 tie at half and then were locked up at 32 apiece heading into the final stanza. Unfortunately, for No. 3-seed E-M, Howells raced the length of the court to tie the score right before halftime and again heading into the final period.

A key moment in the contest took place late in the third quarter when All-Stater Heather Pribyl was whistled for her third personal foul. Pribyl, who will be heading off to Midland University this fall to play volleyball for the Warriors, paced the Timberwolf attack with 17 points and 10 rebounds. The Bobcats outrebounded E-M 32-23. The Timberwolves committed less turnovers, 14 to 17, than their opponents.

E-M's Taylor Erdkamp, who netted eight points in the contest played at Lincoln Southwest High School, swished in a key 3-pointer late in the contest. After a cold streak late in the contest, the Timberwolves had a chance to win the game near the end of the slugfest, but a 3-point try fell short of its mark.

E-M was just 38.9 percent shooting from the field (14-for-36) and were outscored by seven points at three free-throw line—7-for-15 compared to 14-for-23.

Additional scoring for the Timberwolves was provided by Kelsey Moore 7, Jennifer Pribyl 2, Maria Bigelow 2, Megan Zwickl 2 and Claire White 1.

The 39 points scored by E-M were the most the Bobcats allowed all tournament. Howells went on to defeat No. 2 seed CWC, 40-24, on Friday and then knocked out No. 4 seed Pender, 46-36, in the D-1 Final. The Timberwolves had also defeated the Bobcats in the finals of the D-1 State Volleyball Tournament the past two seasons.