LINCOLN — The big sign in front of the Wahoo student section read “Time to Finish it!”
The Warriors went out and did just that.
Wahoo capped its perfect season Saturday night by defeating Boone Central/Newman Grove 45-42 in the boys basketball tournament Class C-1 final at the Devaney Center. It was redemption for the 29-0 Warriors, who lost to Boys Town last year in the championship game.
“To come that close last year was tough,” Wahoo coach Kevin Scheef said. “It motivated us because these guys were determined from day one.”
It was the Warriors’ first title since 1998 and 10th overall, tying them with Omaha Central for fourth on the all-time list. Only Lincoln High (15), Lincoln Northeast (12) and Omaha Creighton Prep (11) have more.
The seventh-seeded Cardinals, who defeated second-seeded Kearney Catholic and third-seeded Kimball earlier in the tourney, threatened to do the same to the top-seeded Warriors. They rallied from a seven-point deficit in the second half in part because of their barrage of 10 3-pointers.
Boone Central, which led by six early in the game, inched back ahead late in the third quarter on a 3-pointer by Tyler Hedlund. But Wahoo junior guard Ben Scheef, son of the head coach, had just enough time to loft in a shot from half court at the buzzer.
“That was pure luck,” Ben said. “I don’t practice it, and I’m still not sure how it went in.”
The Warriors rode that momentum into the fourth quarter and had a slight advantage most of the way. The Cardinals took their final lead at 41-40 with 2:30 left on a 3-pointer by Hedlund.
Wahoo went back on top when senior guard Brook Stuart drilled his fifth 3-pointer of the game. Stuart scored eight of the Warriors’ 10 points in the fourth quarter, including the trey that gave them the lead for good.
“He’s our best 3-point shooter,” Kevin Scheef said. “He hit some huge shots for us tonight.”
Trailing 43-41, the Cardinals had a chance to tie the game with 24 seconds left when Beau Bremer stepped to the free-throw line. But the senior center sank just one of two, and Wahoo’s Quinn McGill grabbed the rebound.
Stuart then was fouled and he made both ends of the 1-and-1 to extend the lead to three. Junior guard Derek Gentrup then missed a 3-pointer from the corner for Boone Central, but the Cardinals had one last chance when Tyler Kavan missed a 1-and-1 with seven seconds left.
The Cardinals never got off a last shot when the ball caromed off a foot as the Boone Central guards brought it upcourt. By the time the ball was retrieved, it was too late for a tying shot.
“Give Boone Central credit,” Kevin Scheef said. “They battled us right to the wire.”
Stuart finished with a game-high 17 points to pace the Warriors. Gentrup scored 15 for the Cardinals.
“It was a crazy game, back and forth,” Stuart said. “But to win the championship is just an amazing feeling.”
Boone Central/Newman Grove (23-7).........................14 6 14 8 —42
Wahoo (29-0).....................................................9 11 15 10—45
BC: Carter Johnson 1-4 0-0 3, Hunter Henry 1-2 0-0 3, Derek Gentrup 5-15 2-2 15, Tyler Hedlund 3-8 0-0 8, Beau Bremer 1-3 2-9 4, Pierce Koch 3-5 0-0 9, Wyatt Mazour 0-4 0-0 0.
W: Ben Scheef 3-9 1-2 8, Brook Stuart 5-10 2-2 17, Jonathan Abbott 5-14 0-0 10, Tyler Kavan 0-2 0-1 0, Quinn McGill 2-5 2-3 6, Jake Scheef 2-2 0-0 4, Jacob Wilson 0-1 0-0 0.
3-point goals: BC 10-25 (Johnson 1-4, Henry 1-2, Gentrup 3-7, Hedlund 2-5, Koch 3-4, Mazour 0-3); W 6-15 (B. Scheef 1-2, Stuart 5-9, Abbott 0-3, Kavan 0-1). Rebounds: BC 23 (Henry 6); W 35 (Abbott 7). Total fouls: BC 13; W 13. Turnovers: BC 8; W 12. Field-goal percentage: BC .341; W .395. Free-throw percentage: BC .364; W .625.
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