Burwell’s Devin Watts hit a pair of free throws with seven seconds remaining to seal a Longhorn win and make sure a solid defense didn’t go to waste.

Burwell topped Heartland Lutheran 44-40 Friday in Grand Island to win its sixth straight game and its second over the Red Hornets this season. This first matchup ended in a similar 45-41 result.

The Longhorns held Heartland Lutheran to its lowest point total since a Jan. 9 loss to Lincoln Lutheran.

“I like our help-side defense and our on-ball defense,” Burwell head coach Adam Stolzer said. “Victory Sikes played some great on-ball defense and everybody just contributed. That’s what we’ve hung our hat on all year is defense. We had a lot of players make plays and play team defense.”

After allowing an 8-0 run in the first quarter, the Burwell defense tightened up and made things harder for the Red Hornet offense in the second quarter.

Heartland Lutheran shot 2 for 15 from the field in the second period while the Longhorns were able to take a double-digit lead.

“That second quarter, we just lost our composure,” Heartland Lutheran head coach Rick Rath said. “I thought that we took shots that were uncharacteristic and we forgot what we were doing defensively. I really thought it was a composure type of thing.”

While getting stops on defense, Burwell junior guard Cayden Owens was a catalyst for the Longhorn offense, hitting a 3-pointer and a layup to go with three assists. Owens either scored or assisted on all of their second-quarter points.

Owens finished with 10 points, seven assists and three rebounds.

“Cayden is a sophomore and he’s got some guts,” Stolzer said. “He’s a point guard and people look to him even though he’s a leader. He gets us in and out of our offense.”

The Red Hornets were able close the gap down to two points early in the fourth quarter on a basket from Jacob Simonson. The senior guard scored and assisted on over half Heartland Lutheran’s points, scoring 15 of his 19 points in the second half.

“His dribble penetration is just so good,” Rath said. “He just continually does that and does it in an unselfish way. We probably should have gone to the dribble drive a little sooner. We tried but we couldn’t run it the way I wanted. We just have to find a better way of getting in it.”

Burwell opened up a lead from there, and held off the Red Hornets by shooting 9 for 13 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter.

“Again, that was just players making plays,” Stolzer said. “You’ve got juniors Devin Watts and Chase Hoffschneider and senior Ty Chaffin stepping up and making free throws. They get extra shots up before after every practice and it shows in that situation.”

Heartland Lutheran closes the season Friday at Blue Hill. Burwell closes its season at home Friday against Chambers/Wheeler Central.

“These are the kinds of games we want down the stretch,” Rath said. “We want tough games that get us ready for districts. These will hopefully play dividends down the road.”

Burwell ...................................... 14 11 7 12—47

Heartland Lutheran .................... 11 4 11 14 —41

Burwell (14-5): Hoffschneider 6-11 3-4 15, Owens 4-12 0-0 10, Watts 1-6 5-7 7, Sikes 1-2 1-2 3, Scott 1-1 0-0 3, Chaffin 2-3, 1-3 5, Totals 15-36 10-16 44.

Heartland Lutheran (14-7): Simonson 8-14 3-3 19, Warneke 0-5 0-0 0, Zapata 3-5 0-1 6, Staehr 2-3 1-1 5, Probasco 1-1 0-0 3 Hueftle 3-17 0-0 7, Totals 17-45 4-5 40.

3-point field goals—B 2-9 (Owens 2-7, Watts 0-2), HL 1-11 (Simonson 0-2, Warneke 0-4, Hueftle 1-5). Fouled out— Simonson. Rebounds—B 20 (Chaffin 8), HL 23 (Hueftle 7). Assists - B 10 (Owens 7) HL 7 (Simonson 6) Turnovers—B 4 HL 6. Techncials—none.

Girls: Burwell 47, HL 41

Burwell’s 20-point third quarter was enough for the Longhorns to weather a late charge from Heartland Lutheran that got the game within two possessions late.

The Longhorns won 47-41 to end a four-game skid Friday in Grand Island. They pulled away with the help of a 10-point third quarter from point guard Kassi Plock.

“We got some defensive stops there in the second half and executed our offense,” Burwell head coach Garrett Mann said. “We made some extra passes and had a couple of backdoor shots. We’ve had some leads that have slipped but we were panicking a little bit there at the end.”

Burwell broke out to an 8-0 lead with the help of a Red Hornet offense that came out slow. Heartland Lutheran went the 4:30 without scoring before Justine Bader broke the ice with a layup.

Bader’s basket helped get things moving for the Red Hornets, who had better ball movement and closer looks at the basket. Sydney Schmitt stole a Longhorn pass and at midcourt and took in for the score to tie the game.

Burwell answered with another run with scored for Lily Gideon and Blake Mann to regain the lead heading into halftime.

Plock caught fire in the third going on a seven-point run by herself. To end the third, Plock drilled a corner 3-pointer as time expired to put the Longhorns up 39-28.

“She had a nice three-pointer there at the end of the third quarter,” coach Mann said. “She did a nice job of pushing the ball on the fast break and gets us going with the dribble. She’s a ball handler and a shooter, so that’s good.”

Despite slow periods on the offensive side, Heartland Lutheran head coach Kathryn Langrehr said the game was lost on the defensive end.

“The biggest thing is we can miss shots, but we just weren’t able to make shots,” she said. “They shot well and that never helps. Just seeing and honoring where everybody is at on the floor is one of those keys. The girls know that and the page will turn, but it was a tough one.”

Burwell plays Tuesday against West Holt to open subdistricts, while Heartland Lutheran plays Central Valley.

Burwell ..................................... 10 9 20 8—47

Heartland Lutheran ................... 7 10 11 13—41

BURWELL (8-12): Jefferes 0-2 0-0 0, Plock 6-11 0-0 14, Stout 1-5 3-4 5, Watts 0-1 0-0 0, Gideon 5-7 0-0 10, Jensen 0-1 0-0 0, Mann 6-11 4-4 16, Hoffscheider 2-6 1-3 5, Totals 20-43 8-11 47

HEARTLAND LUTHERAN (12-10): Niemeier 0-4 0-0 0, Bluschke 0-2 0-0 0, Schmitt 5-13 4-4 14, Bader 5-13 4-4 15, Wiegert 0-7 0-0 0, Hiegel 1-8 4-6 6, Zehendner 1-3 0-0 0, Totals 12-50 12-14 41.

3-point field goals—B 3-9 (Plock 2-5, Mann 0-1, Hoffschneider 1-3), HL 2-14 (Niemeier 1-3, Schmitt 1-6, Bader 1-5, Wiegert 0-2, Hiegel 0-2m Zehendner 0-1). Fouled out— None. Rebounds—B 27 (Mann 7), HL 22 (Bader 5). Turnovers—B 18, HL 9. Techncials—none.

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