LINCOLN — For Osmond, taking down the top-ranked Class D-2 team came down to one thing. Defense.
The Tigers beat Falls City Sacred Heart 51-28 in a girls state basketball semifinal game Friday afternoon at the Pershing Center. Osmond on Saturday will play in the state championship for the first time in school history.
“The girls played a heck of a game,” Osmond coach Michael Brown said. “They came out and stuck to the plan that we developed between them and me. They’re a much a part of the plan as much as I am. We play what fits our style of play. It controls the tempo of the game and defense wins a lot of championships.”
Clinging to an 11-10 lead with 2:09 left in the first quarter, the Tigers outscored Sacred Heart 15-2 to close out the first half.
Carissa Gutz knocked down a 3-pointer with 3:34 left in the half to give Osmond its first double-digit lead of 23-12. The Tigers added a bucket by Paige Schuettler and a free throw by Alison Schmit to close out the scoring in the first half.
Osmond continued to build on its lead after halftime, going on an 11-2 run during the final 4:19 of the third quarter to push its lead to 39-18. Osmond increased its lead to A bucket by Brianna Kumm pushed the Tiger lead to 43-22 with 3:58 remaining in the game.
Gutz finished with a game-high 15 points and nine rebounds for the Tigers (19-2). Krohn and Kumm followed with 14 and 11 points, respectively. Paige Schuettler was credited with seven rebounds.
“As long as we come out and play hard, we can come out and stop anybody we’re up against,” Brown said. “The harder we work on defense, the better our offense becomes.”
Maggie Goltz finished with a team-high 10 points for the Sacred Heart. Goltz only scored two points during the final three quarters of action. In the first quarter, she scored six of her eight points following an offensive rebound.
“I thought we got looks at times. ... We just didn’t make anything,” Sacred Heart coach Luke Santo said. “That first half was frustrating. You have to give them credit — there zone is good. We just didn’t make any shots. They’re scoring on the other in and that’s tough.”
Osmond will play Wynot in the championship game at 11 a.m. Saturday morning at the Devaney Center.
“They’re 19-2 now and play good competition up there,” Santo said. “They had answers on the offensive end. If they were missing shots, they were getting offensive rebounds. Offensive rebounds were the big difference in the first half. They were the better team today.”
Osmond (19-2) ................. 13 13 13 12—51
Falls City Sacred Heart (24-5) ................. 10 2 6 10—28
O: Alison Schmit 7, Brianna Kumm 11, Laurel Krohn 14, Carissa Gutz 15, Paige Schuettler 4.
FCSH: Abby Magdanz 7, Emma Schock 3, Elizabeth Magdanz 8, Maggie Goltz 10.