Crete advances, Norris falls in Class B quarterfinals at Pinnacle Bank Arena
LINCOLN, NE — The Crete Cardinals picked up their first win at the NSAA state boys basketball championship tournament since 2007 Thursday while Norris came up short against one of the Class B's top teams.
No. 5 Crete faced off against No. 4 Elkhorn in the Class B quarterfinals in the afternoon. The Cardinals had to hold a fierce fourth quarter rally from the Antlers to preserve a 66-61 victory.
After the two played to a 13-13 tie in the first quarter, Crete started the second period on an 8-0 run and exploded for 23 points in the quarter to take a 36-23 advantage into halftime. Crete's defense played a big role in the period as well. The Cardinals forced multiple turnovers to limit Elkhorn's opportunities. The Antlers would finish the game with 20 turnovers.
The lead stayed at 13 points after each team scored a dozen in the third period. Crete at one point held a 20-point lead at 45-25, but Elkhorn closed out the quarter on a 10-3 lead to cut the Cardinal lead back to 13 and 48-35.
Crete again ballooned its lead in the fourth quarter all the way to 19, but the Antlers started to climb back in. Fueled by 12 points in the quarter from Colin Comstock, the Antlers trimmed its deficit all the way down to five points.
Elkhorn was helped by the fact that Crete made just 10-18 free throws in the fourth quarter. Senior Mason Crumbliss came through for the Cardinals, draining seven of his eight foul shots to keep the Antlers at bay in the final minute.
With the win, Crete picked up its first win at the state tournament since 2007, which also happened to be against Elkhorn. The Cardinals also avenged a regular season loss to the Antlers.
Ben Ehlers and Aidan McDowell led Crete with 13 points a piece. Jabin Gardiner added 10 while Crumbliss had nine in the game.
Elkhorn was paced by Comstock and Ethan Yungtum who each had 24 points.
Crete advances to the Class B semifinals where they will play No. 1 Omaha Skutt Catholic at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The game will be carried on Ol' Red 99.5.
No. 7 Norris played hard against No. 2 Platteview in the following contest at the Class B quarterfinals. The Titans would come up short though, falling 60-50.
It was Norris who led after the first quarter by a score of 17-14. The Titans kept up the strong defense in the second quarter, limiting chances for the all-time leading scorer in Class B history Connor Millikan. Although he had 13 first half points, he had just one field goal in the second quarter.
Norris led at the break 29-27. Platteview's star though came alive in the third quarter, scoring seven of his team's first nine points in the period to take a 36-31 lead.
Millikan would finish with 12 points in the third as his team held onto to that lead at 43-38 heading to the fourth.
Norris kept it close for most of the final period, but a late run by Platteview gave the Trojans the separation they needed to pick up the win.
Millikan paced all scorers with 36 points. Barret Boesiger and Christopher Garner Jr. each had 11 for Norris.
Although the season ends, it was a strong showing from a young Norris team who had nine wins just one season ago. Thirty-eight of the team's 50 points in the game came from players expected to return next year. That includes 23 total points from their three freshman, Garner Jr., Macoy Folkerts and Alec Small.
Platteview will face No. 6 York in the Class B semifinals on Friday at 3:15 p.m.