LINCOLN — Brady Timm scored a game-high 20 points as fifth-ranked Yutan knocked off two-time defending champion Ponca 46-42 Friday in the Class C-2 semifinal at the Devaney Center.
Timm, who was 11 of 13 at the foul line, scored all of his points in the second and fourth quarters, including 10 in the final 5:29. He also scored 25 in a first-round win over second-ranked Sutton Thursday.
The Chieftains (23-5) earn a spot in Saturday’s 4:30 p.m. title game at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Yutan will be making the program’s first trip to a final since 1979 and is bidding for its first state title since winning Class E in 1924.
Perhaps even more impressive than Timm’s 20-point performance was his effort on defense. At 5-foot-11, the sophomore guard helped limit Ponca leading scorer Carter Kingsbury to 15 points — 3.5 below his season average — on 5-of-19 shooting from the floor.
“That’s what basketball is: You’ve got a kid (Timm) who’s maybe a little bit undersized, but has the heart of a lion and you’ve got a kid in Kingsbury who looks like a lion — he’s just huge. A big boy,” Yutan coach Justin Petersen said of the 6-4 Kingsbury. “It was just fun watching them go back and forth. They could’ve played one-on-one and it would’ve been fun to watch.”
Kingsbury’s 15 points and 10 rebounds led the fourth-ranked Indians (23-5). But Ponca was 2 of 15 shooting in the first quarter and finished 15 of 51 from the field.
“Early, we had a hard time getting the ball in the hole — it looked like there was a lid on there,” Ponca coach Adam Poulosky said. “They hit more shots early, grabbed the lead and I think that was kind of the difference, really.
“Our kids played hard. I thought we did pretty well, defensively, on their guards. … We just didn’t score on them.”
Trey Knudsen opened the game on an 8-0 run, including two 3-pointers. The junior guard ended with 12 points for the Chieftains, who broke a 37-37 tie by converting 9 of 12 free throws in the final 2:48.
Ponca led 31-27 with 1:58 to play in the third quarter on a 3-pointer by Anderson, but Yutan didn’t fold.
“We were kind of down and out there for a while, but just the resiliency of our guys — it has been fun watching them grow up here,” Petersen said. “We’ve only got two seniors, so there’s a lot of youth out there and we’re kind of just going with it. I’m super proud of our guys.”
Ponca (23-5)..........5 15 13 9—42
Yutan (23-5).........10 15 5 16—46
P: Brandon Kneifl 8, Carter Kingsbury 15, Jayde Reid 4, Evan Anderson 10, Paul Masin 5.
Y: Trey Knudsen 12, Brady Timm 20, Clayton Nelson 1, Colby Tichota 9, Will Hays 4.