Class B: South Sioux City withstands 31 points from Payton Brotzki to advance

South Sioux City's McKenna Sims dribbles down the court.

LINCOLN — Anyone wondering if Thursday night’s Platteview-South Sioux City matchup was perhaps the de facto state championship game, they’re not alone.

After a physical four-quarter battle, it was the top-rated Cardinals who survived with a 65-56 first-round victory over the No. 2 Trojans at the Devaney Center. It was tied 50-50 with 4:17 to play before South Sioux City nudged ahead and then converted 11 of 12 free throws in the final 3:01 to advance.

“There were so many times in that game where things got tough and we could have easily folded,” South Sioux City coach Molly Hornbeck said. “Those girls really showed a ton of determination. That was a really good basketball team that we played and I’m extremely happy with the effort.”

The defending Class B state champion Cardinals (22-4) were led by McKenna Sims, who finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Taryn Christensen (13 points), Kyra Fischer (11) and Marybeth Rasmussen (10) also scored in double figures for South Sioux City, which advances to play Beatrice in Friday’s 3:45 p.m. semifinal.

Payton Brotzki scored a game-high 31 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, to lead Platteview. Sabrina Starks added 11 points for the Trojans, who ended the season 23-4.

“I’m not a seasoned pro at the state tournament, but this did not feel like a first-round game to me,” Platteview coach Ron Coughlin said. “All the credit to (South Sioux City). I told the girls I was proud of the way we played the whole way. We didn’t quit.

“South Sioux was rated No. 1 in the paper and we’re No. 2. I think that we proved that we’re right there.”

Platteview built a 24-19 lead on Kaleigh Koehler’s driving basket with 3:17 remaining in the second quarter before the Cardinals used a 10-2 run take a 29-26 halftime advantage. After South Sioux City opened up a 43-31 lead with 2:48 left in the third quarter, Brotzki scored nine points in a 19-7 run by the Trojans, knotting it at 50-50 on a baseline jumper by Halle Johnson.

Tiffany Tinker responded with the go-ahead basket with 3:35 left for the Cardinals.

“Class B has a handful of really good teams and Platteview is definitely one of them,” Hornbeck said. “Payton Brotzki is a very good player and I’m really happy with how our girls tried to contain her. They were a great team and I feel really good about that win.

“They acted like a team that has been here before. I was really proud of the way they overcame that, took that surge and battled back with a little one of our own.”

Sims, a 5-foot-8 junior, scored nine of her 16 points in the second half.

“She’s tough to stop because she’s got such a great all-around game,” Hornbeck said of Sims. “You could just tell that she didn’t want to go home today. She kind of took it upon herself to make sure of that.”

Platteview outrebounded the Cardinals 42-32 but was hampered by 13 of 25 foul shooting. South Sioux City finished 20 of 25 at the line.

“I felt like that was maybe the two best teams in the state right there in Class B, playing,” Coughlin said. “We rode our horse, they rode their horse and the pieces fell where they may.

“That floor out there is littered with skin from Platteview and South Sioux. … We gave it everything that we had.”

Platteview (23-4)................16 10 15 15—56

South Sioux City (22-4).......13 16 16 20—65

P: Sabrina Starks 11, Anna Koehler 3, Halle Johnson 2, Payton Brotzki 31, Kaleigh Koehler 3, Madelyn Soupir 4, Brooke Karnik 2.

SSC: Kyra Fischer 11, McKenna Sims 16, Marybeth Rasmussen 10, Tiffany Tinker 8, Taryn Christensen 13, Hannah Strom 5, McKenna Comstock 2.