LINCOLN — Wynot’s fourth-quarter performance at the free-throw line clinched the win in a state tournament rematch and set up a championship meeting with another familiar opponent.
The two-time defending D-2 champion Blue Devils beat second-seeded Lindsay Holy Family 43-40 Friday at Pershing Center, sending Wynot to play for a third straight championship. It marks the second time in three years Wynot has beaten the Bulldogs in a D-2 semifinal and sets up the Blue Devils’ third match-up of the season with Lewis & Clark Conference rival Osmond at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Devaney Center.
Wynot (24-4) and Osmond split their first two games this year with the Blue Devils winning early in the season before Osmond won in subdistricts.
“At the end of the day, it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Wynot coach Steve Wieseler said of a third meeting with Osmond. “They’re in our conference. We know these (Osmond) girls personally. We’re only about 35 or 40 miles from each other. These girls have been playing against each other for four years.”
Wynot advanced to the title game despite not hitting a field goal in the fourth quarter. The Blue Devils led 33-26 after three quarters, but didn’t score for the first 3:18 of the final period while Lindsay Holy Family (25-2) cut the deficit to 33-32.
But the Blue Devils hit 10 of 11 free throws over the final 4:42 to hold on. Kelsie Higgins and Samantha Wieseler each scored 11 points to lead Wynot.
Holy Family’s Kaylee Jenkins, who averages 25.2 points per game, led all players with 22 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.
With Wynot leading 39-37, the Blue Devils’ Maggie Schulte missed the front end of a one-and-one with 18.5 seconds to go — Wynot’s only miss of the quarter. But Higgins grabbed the offensive rebound and hit two free throws to put Wynot up 41-37.
Jensen hit a 3-pointer with five seconds to go to pull Holy Family within 41-40, but Wieseler hit two free throws with 0.2 seconds left for the final points.
The Bulldogs ended the second period on a 7-0 run to take a 21-17 halftime lead, but Wynot regrouped and outscored Holy Family 16-5 in the third quarter. Samantha Hochstein came off the bench and hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Wynot a 33-26 lead going to the fourth.
“The third quarter we got off to a slow start,” Holy Family coach Travis Friesen said. “We got into a little hole. If we could’ve stayed out of that hole and managed the third quarter better … but they played well. We didn’t adjust to their adjustments in time.”
The Bulldogs will face Falls City Sacred Heart in the D-2 third-place game at 2 p.m. Saturday at Lincoln Northeast.
Wynot (24-4) ................. 11 6 16 10—43
Lindsay Holy Family (25-2) ................. 10 11 5 14—40
W: Kelsie Higgins 11, Samantha Wieseler 11, Maggie Schulte 8, Shelby Hochstein 6, Zoey Heimes 4, Devin Jacobs 3
LHF: Kaylee Jensen 22, Emily Kurtenbach 8, Laura McPhillips 5, Briley Wiese 4, Kendal Schumacher 1
Officials: Luikens, Sughroue, Colson
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