LINCOLN — You can’t beat perfect.
Elkhorn center Brooke Carlson made all nine of her shots in Saturday’s 67-60 win against No. 1 South Sioux City in the Class B championship game.
It was the Antlers’ second state championship and first since 1985.
Carlson, a senior who will play at UNK, was the first to hold the trophy and first up the ladder to cut down the net after scoring 27 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Like all players, Carlson had envisioned the championship moment.
Reality lived up to the hype.
“I was fouled with a couple minutes left and every free throw that I’d shot previous to that, I’d pictured myself shooting it in the state championship game,” Carlson said.
Elkhorn shot 1 of 2 in the fourth quarter, but it was a big one.
Payton Jakopovic’s 3-pointer with 6:53 to go put Elkhorn ahead 51-48, and the Antlers would lead the rest of the game.
“I kept telling our posts to kick it out when they drive in,” Jakopovic said. “I was waiting for that pass. It was like a free throw for me.”
The Antlers (26-3) had plenty of actual free throws the rest of the way, making 16 of 22 in the final six minutes and 27 of 33 overall.
Starters Kyra Fischer, McKenna Sims and Taryn Christensen each ended the third quarter on the bench with three fouls, but the Cardinals survived with key baskets from Marybeth Rasmussen, who had 13 points, and Hannah Strom.
But foul trouble would haunt South Sioux City in the fourth.
Christensen fouled out with 3:35 remaining; Fischer followed with 2:13 to go.
“We like to take some chances and play aggressive. The down side of that is sometimes you get into foul trouble,” South Sioux City coach Molly Hornbeck said.
The Cardinals used a 9-2 run the last 2:42 of the first half to take a 33-26 halftime lead. Rasmussen and freshman Kyra Fischer made 3-pointers during the run. The Cardinals were 7 of 15 from beyond the arc in the first half, causing the zone-centric Antlers to switch to a man-to-man defense.
“We knew (playing zone) was taking a gamble,” Elkhorn coach Jennifer Wragge said. “We were hoping they wouldn’t hit those 3s. Obviously, we were wrong.”
Carlson scored 10 in the second quarter, but teammates initially didn’t offer much help, shooting 4 of 17, including 1 of 8 from 3-point range.
That changed after halftime.
Jakopovic made two 3s as part of a 10-2 Elkhorn run that opened the third quarter.
“I was just trying to sneak into those pockets when (the defensive players) were turning their heads,” said Jakopovic, who was 4 of 8 on 3s and had 16 points.
Kailee Lawrence made two 3s in 45 seconds to put Elkhorn ahead 46-43, but South Sioux City rallied to tie it 48-48 at the end of the third.
Elkhorn had scored less than 50 points in 14 straight games until putting up 51 in Friday’s semifinal, then equaled a season high in points Saturday.
“We scored more in the state tournament than we did the whole second half of the season,” Wragge said, then turned to Carlson. “Can you believe it?”
South Sioux City (23-5)...........11 22 15 12—60
Elkhorn (26-3)........................10 16 22 19—67
SSC: Kyra Fischer 4-13 0-0 10, McKenna Sims 6-16 5-6 19, Marybeth Rasmussen 5-8 0-0 13, Tiffany Tinker 3-7 1-1 7, Taryn Christensen 1-6 1-2 3, Tori Knowles 0-0 1-2 1, Selene Guzman 0-4 0-0 0, Hannah Strom 2-3 1-2 7. Totals 21-57 9-13.
E: Liberty Donahue 0-0 4-6 4, Payton Jakopovic 4-9 4-4 16, Maddy Meehan 1-8 7-9 9, Carly Cameron 0-1 3-4 3, Brooke Carlson 9-9 9-10 27, Jaisa Hoffart 0-0 0-0 0, Payton Cooley 0-0 0-0, Kailee Lawrence 3-8 0-0 8, Livia Steskal 0-0 0-0 0, Kelsey Tabbert 0-0 0-0 0, Hailey White 0-0 0-0 0, Tia Murray 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-36 27-33.
3-point shooting: SSC 9-23 (Rasmussen 3-4, Strom 2-2, Fischer 2-6, Sims 2-8, Guzman 0-1, Christensen 0-2), E 6-16 (Jakopovic 4-8, Lawrence 2-6, Meehan 0-1, Cameron 0-1). Fouls: SSC 24, E 15. Fouled out: Fischer, Christensen. Technicals: none. Turnovers: SSC 7, E 12. Rebounds: SSC 29 (Fischer, Sims 7), E 32 (Meehan 13).
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Superior's Kalynn Meyer shoots over Ravenna defender Callie Coulter.
Superior's Nicki Kirchhoff, middle, and Ravenna's Megan Miigerl, right, reach for a loose ball in the first half.
Superior's Megan Miller defends Ravenna's Jordyn Fiddelke in the first half.
Superior's Trisha Hayes dribbles as Ravenna's Megan Miigerl, right, defends.
Superior's Teghan Sullivan dribbles the ball in the first half.
Superior's Kalynn Meyer shoots over Ravenna defender Callie Coulter.
Superior's Nicki Kirchhoff grabs a rebound over Ravenna's Callie Coulter.
Superior's Kalynn Meyer shoots the ball.
Superior fans cheer during the game.
Ravenna's Jordyn Fiddelke shoots the ball in the first half.
Ravenna's Brooklyn Fiddelke dribbles the ball.
Superior's Teghan Sullivan and Ravenna's Megan Miigerl go for a loose ball.
Ravenna coach Noah Maulsby watches from the bench.
Ravenna's Megan Miigerl takes a loose ball from Superior's Nicki Kirchhoff.
Ravenna's Jordyn Fiddelke dribbles the ball.
Ravenna's coach Noah Maulsby cheers from the bench.
Ravenna's Megan Miigerl dribbles as Superior's Emma Schnakenberg defends.
Superior's Nicki Kirchhoff, left, and Megan Miller cheer after winning the Class C-2 championship over Ravenna.
Superior celebrates its state championship over Ravenna.
Ravenna's Callie Coulter, Bailey Bitz and Krystal Meyers walk to shake hands with Superior after losing the Class C-2 title game.
Superior coach Jim Sullivan cuts down the net.
Superior celebrates a Class C-2 championship win over Ravenna.
Superior celebrates its championship.
Superior's Kalynn Meyer blocks a shot by Ravenna's Megan Miigerl in the final seconds of the game.
Millard South's Bailey Urban, middle, is guarded by Omaha Westside's Lauren Fehr.
Millard South's Madison Krull dribbles as Omaha Westside's Ella Wedergren defends.
Millard South's Bailey Urban dribbles as Omaha Westside's Ella Wedergren defends.
Omaha Westside's Abigail Hellman looks to pass as Bailey Urban, right, and Makenzi Hoit, left, defend.
Omaha Westside coach Steve Clark chats with an official in the first half.
Omaha Westside's Caroline Leibel dribbles around Millard South defender Bailey Urban.
Omaha Westside's Quinn Weidemann dribbles as Millard South's Bailey Urban defends.
Omaha Westside's Quinn Weidemann shoots as Millard South's Bailey Urban defends.
Omaha Westside's Abigail Hellman looks to pass as Millard South's Madison Krull defends.
Millard South fans cheer during the game.
Millard South's Madison Krull dribbles the ball.
Millard South coach Bryce Meyers watches the game.
Omaha Westside's Katherine Andersen, No. 10, Brooklyn James, No. 2, Miranda Dresen, No. 24, and Abigail Hellman, No. 34, celebrate their win over Millard South.
Omaha Westside's Quinn Weidemann (32) cuts down the net after the Warriors defeated Millard South in the Class A State Championship. Millard South played Omaha Westside in the girls class A state championship at the Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday, March 3, 2018, in Lincoln. MATT DIXON/THE WORLD-HERALD
Omaha Westside seniors from left, Caroline Leibel, Lauren Fehr and Quinn Weidemann celebrate after their victory.
Omaha Westside's Lauren Fehr dribbles around Millard South defender Makenzie Hoit.
Omaha Westside receives the Class A girls state trophy.
Humphrey St. Francis' Allison Weidner drives the ball.
Humphrey St. Francis' Allison Weidner, middle right, and Bridget McPhillips, middle left, go for a loose ball with Falls City Sacred Heart's Ahren Ebel, right, and Lauren Parrish.
Humphrey St. Francis' Tara Foltz shoots a layup.
Humphrey St. Francis' Tara Foltz, left, and Allison Weidner strip the ball from Falls City Sacred Heart's Abby Fiegener.
Humphrey St. Francis' Allison Weidner passes the ball.
Falls City Sacred Heart coach Luke Santo watches from the sidelines.
Humphrey St. Francis coach Bryan Reichmuth watches from the sidelines.
Falls City Sacred Heart's Abby Fiegener passes the ball.
Falls City Sacred Heart's Lauren Parrish shoots the ball.
Falls City Sacred Heart's McKenzie Witt dribbles the ball after a turnover.
Scotus's Shania Borchers shoots the ball against Wahoo Neumann.
Columbus Scotus' Shania Borchers shoots against Wahoo Neumann's Megan Spicka.
Scotus' Grace Wickham dribbles past Wahoo Neumann's Alyssa Rezac.
Scotus fans cheer during the championship game.
Wahoo Neumann's Lindsey Thiele and Scotus' Marika Spencer fight for a rebound.
Scotus' Bailey Lehr loses a rebound.
Wahoo Neumann's Aspen Jansa shoots the ball.
Wahoo Neumann's Jessina Rada and Haley Vanek embrace after losing the Class C-1 championship.
Scotus' Maggie Feehan celebrates after winning the Class C-1 title.