Kearney Ends Norfolk’s Four-Year Reign Atop the GNAC

NORTH PLATTE – Kearney’s GNAC championship was a long time coming.

The Bearcats hadn’t won the boys basketball title since 2007. Since then, they’d finished 2nd four times, including in 2016 to Norfolk. On Saturday, the Bearcats got their revenge, beating Norfolk 54-44 to become the first team other than the Panthers to take the GNAC crown since North Platte won it in 2012.

It was a much more complete performance for the Bearcats as opposed to their three-point loss to the Panthers just eight days prior. Star senior Kanon Koster was held to a season-low 12 points in that game while being limited by foul trouble. He roared back Saturday with 28 points to lead all scorers.

Norfolk nearly rallied in the fourth, Luke Kluver scored 18 of his 26 points in the 4th quarter alone, and Norfolk had Kearney’s lead down to five with 1:30 to go. But the Bearcats made their free throws late to clinch the win.

The game was the final appearance for both clubs in the GNAC tourney. Both will be members of the Heartland Athletic Conference beginning next school year.

1 2 3 4
NORFOLK – 8 8 6 22 – 44
KEARNEY – 13 7 13 21 – 54

KEARNEY STATS

Kanon Koster – 28 pts, 5 rebs
Carson Schwarz – 9 pts, 2 rebs
Seth Stroh – 6 pts, 3 rebs
Matt Stute – 3 pts, 1 reb
Bret Obermiller – 3 pts
Sam Straka – 2 pts, 4 rebs
Jaden Engen – 2 pts
Colin Murray – 3 rebs

NORFOLK STATS

Luke Kluver – 26 pts, 3 rebs
Matt Hagedorn – 12 pts, 3 rebs
Tate Werner – 4 pts, 5 rebs
Ryan Schommer – 2 pts, 6 rebs
Zack James – 2 rebs
Connor Clayton – 2 rebs
Cameron Eisenhauer – 1 reb
A.J. Mitchell – 1 reb

UP NEXT:

Kearney (7-3) vs. North Platte on 1/5
Norfolk (5-4) vs. Lincoln Southwest on 1/4

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