LINCOLN — Top-ranked Kearney Catholic, and 6-foot-1 forward Bailey Sokolowski, returned to form Friday in thumping Wahoo 65-33 in the Class C-1 semifinals.
Sokolowski made a pair of 3s in the first quarter, when the Stars (26-2) took a 19-7 lead, and led both teams with 19 points at the Devaney Center after taking only three shots and going scoreless in their first-round struggle against Norfolk Catholic.
Sokolowski's 3s “get her engaged in the game,” Stars coach Rick Petri said. “When she scores a little bit, she gets a little more excited. She shot the ball really well and she was active on the defensive end, getting a lot of rebounds.”
Sokolowski is a University of Nebraska at Kearney volleyball recruit.
Therin Baum had 13 points and Michaela Mestl 11 for the Stars, who advance to the finals for the first time since winning Class C-2 in 2007.
“The kids played a lot better. They moved the ball better and knocked down some shots, and our height created an issue for them on defense,” Petri said. “I think we got our first-round jitters out of the way, got through that game, and we played here the way we have most of the year.”
The Stars went on a 22-2 run, for a 24-7 lead, before Tschida Johnson scored for Wahoo with 5:16 left in the first half.
Wahoo tried several defenses without success in slowing the Stars, who led 32-18 at halftime and 46-24 after three quarters. Kearney Catholic scored the last 11 points of the quarter after Samantha Grandgenett made her second 3 of the quarter for Wahoo.
Grandgenett's nine points led the No. 10 Warriors (17-10).
“The zone is what got us this far,” Wahoo coach Linda Walker said. “We thought if we controlled their shooters it might help on the boards.
“But their shooters were hitting, so we went into man (defense) and, oh, that blew the game up. We then tried a triangle-and-two junk defense, and another girl hits a 3, so we went back to the zone.”
Wahoo (17-10) ................. 7 11 6 9—33
Kearney Catholic (26-2) ................. 19 13 14 19—65
W: Samantha Grandgenett 9, Bailey Brigham 7, Taylor Otte 5, Tschida Johnson 5, Gabby Shannon 4, Darcy Barry 3.
KC: Bailey Sokolowski 19, Therin Baum 13, Michaela Mestl 11, Megan Anderson 5, Allie Prososki 5, Shayla Conner 4, Whitney Colling 3, Kayla Shundoff 2, Morgan Stute 2.
Officials: MK McGee, Jeremy McHugh, Craig Kliment
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>> Video: Kearney Catholic-Wahoo game highlights: