LINCOLN – Thanks to some strong free throw shooting, Ponca was able to hold off a late surge by the Elmwood-Murdock Knights to earn their spot in the State Championship on Saturday.
The Indians and Knights played fairly even in the 1st Quarter, going into the 2nd Quarter 9-8 in the Knights favor, thanks in part to two 3-pointers from Zachary Rust. Ponca separated themselves slightly in the 2nd Quarter, outscoring Elmwood 14-7, and making 8 of 8 free throw attempts.
Coming into the second half, both teams started slow with Elmwood scoring 6 and Ponca scoring 5, but both teams would coming raging back in the final quarter to score 23 points a piece. 14 of those points for Ponca came from the charity stripe, but unfortunately for the Knights, they were unable to eclipse the 5 point deficit and fell 50-45.
“I’m an alumni from Ponca, I played in 2000. We we’re runner up and made it to the State Championship. So it means a lot for me to get them back, and I’m so proud of these guys, they worked so hard you know. Journal Star didn’t have us ranked at the beginning of the season, and here we are. The guys believed, and kept working their butts off and here we are,” says Ponca Head Coach Adam Poulosky.
Sophomore Wesley Dreamer had a big night for the Knights, leading all scorers with 21 points, 12 of those coming in the final quarter.
“We got to comeback and play the number 1 team in the state, quote un-quote, and let’s see if we can go get them. We wanted to play St. Cecilia anyway, now we get to play them. It’s at the wrong venue, but we’ll try and get them,” says Elmwood-Murdock Head Coach Matt Shelsta
Ponca will play Neligh-Oakdale at Pinnacle Bank Arena at 4:30 on Saturday, while the Knights will face the Bluehawks at 9 a.m. at Lincoln East in the Consolation game.
Ponca (26-4) 8 14 5 23 50
EM (24-4) 9 7 6 23 45
Ponca: Tremayne 5, Schweers 5, Day 14, Kingsbury 11, Touney 2, Masin 2
EM: Bornemeier 3, Rust 8, Eggert 6, W. Dreamer 21, B. Dreamer 4, Wiley 1, Marlatt 2