The Bridgeport and Hemingford girls basketball teams set the stage for the Class C-2, Sub-District 12 Tournament final after both teams registered wins in the semifinal round on Tuesday night at Gering High School.
Top seeded Bridgeport set the pace with a 43-30 win over No. 4 Morrill in the first contest of the night.
Hemingford, the No. 2 seed, held off No. 3 Bayard 32-31 in the nightcap to pick up its 14th win of the season.
The Bulldogs and Bobcats will square off for the title on Thursday at 7 p.m. back in Gering.
Bridgeport coach Bryan Schluterbusch was proud of his team’s effort throughout the contest and said that it all comes down to winning in the end.
“I was proud of them for staying in the game and winning,” he said. “That was the main goal – to win. This time of the year it always is.”
Led by 5-foot-7 sophomore, Megan Dudden, Bridgeport found its rhythm late in the first period with a 6-0 run and never looked back. Morrill jumped out to a 6-4 lead early in the contest, only to trail 10-8 after the first frame. The Lions tied the game at 10 with a bucket by Mickayla Schneider at the 7:25 mark, but a 3-pointer by Sydney Faessler just over a minute later sparked a 9-0 run to give the Bulldogs the 19-10 advantage. Bridgeport led by as much as 17 points in the third after a bucket by Brooke Harding at the 1:55 mark gave the Bulldogs a 33-16 advantage. Bridgeport led 33-21 going into the final eight minutes where the Bulldogs outscored Morrill 10-6 in the frame to advance to Thursday’s final with Hemingford.
Although the Bulldogs handled the Lions for most of the contest, Schluterbusch said they have some areas of opportunity to focus on before Thursday.
“I thought we did some good things, but it was just too far between the good things,” Schluterbusch said. “We just need to be more consistent on Thursday or it’s going to be a lot tougher of a game.”
Bridgeport shot 11 of 27 from the free-throw line, while Morrill was 6 of 14.
The Bulldogs were led by Dudden, who finished with 12 points. Faessler hit a pair of three pointers to finish with 10; and Tara Harding chipped in nine.
Morrill was paced by Morgan Nortness, who tallied two 3-pointers to finish with 10 points. Dylainee Peacock and Schneider added six points apiece in the losing effort.
Hemingford’s Kelsy Wood poured in 21 of Hemingford’s 32 points, holding off Bayard in the finals seconds to secure the one-point win.
Hemingford extends its record to 13-7. Bayard finishes at 5-15.
“This bunch of kids is very resilient,” Hemingford coach Dave Chatelain said. “They’ve just kept battling all year – that’s what they did tonight. We’re just going to move on and see what happens on Thursday. Give Bayard a lot of credit, they just really battled.”
The Tigers led throughout the first three quarters, leading 19-13 at the half. Wood, who scored Hemingford’s only three buckets in the third frame, cut the Bayard lead to 25-21 going into the final period.
5-6 senior Jayleen Forgey put the Bobcats in the lead for the first time in the contest after drilling a 3-pointer with 5:550 left in the game to put Hemingford up 27-25. After a free throw by Bayard’s Kaylie Fiscus, Forgey went to work again a little more than two minutes later with another trey to extend the Bobcat lead to four, 30-26. Late free throws by Wood and Kaitlyn Bergfield kept the Bobcats up by four. However, Bayard’s Kaylyn Long hit a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left to give the Tigers a shot. But with 2.7 seconds left, a jump ball gave the possession arrow back to the Bobcats, securing the one-point victory.
Fiscus led the Tigers in the contest, finishing with 14 points. Megan Stuart added seven, while Long collected six.
Forgey finished with eight points, all coming in the fourth period.
Bridgeport and Hemingford will tip off on Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Gering High School.
Bridgeport (9-11) ................. 10 13 10 10 — 43
Morrill (5-12) ................. 8 6 7 9 — 30
B: Megan Dudden 12, Tara Harding 9, Jessica Kildow 2, Jada Huck 2, Dina Cantu 1, Sydney Faessler 10, Olga Aguilar 5, Brooke Harding 2.
M: Taylor Cooper 4, Sabrina Austin 1, Dylainee Peacock 6, Morgan Nortness 10, Mickayla Schneider 6.
Hemingford (13-7) ................. 7 6 8 11 — 32
Bayard (5-15) ................. 11 8 6 6 — 31
H: Kelsy Wood 21, Jayleen Forgey 8, Kaitlyn Jespersen 2, Kaitlyn Bergfield 1.
B: Miah Vera 2, Kaylyn Long 6, Megan Stuart 7, Kaylie Fiscus 14, Rachel Frerichs 2.