LINCOLN — Mitchell fended off Columbus Lakeview’s second-half rally to hold on for a 45-41 victory over the Vikings on Thursday in the first round of the Class C-1 state tournament at the Devaney Center.

The No. 3-rated Tigers led 25-13 at halftime and maintained a double-digit lead until Lakeview used an 11-0 run to cut its deficit to 29-28 on a Gracie Borer basket with 1:41 remaining in the third quarter. The Vikings took their first lead since the game’s opening minute when Makenna Klug hit a 3-pointer for a 34-33 advantage with 6:35 to play.

“We were happy with how our first half went, but I stressed to the girls that this is state and every team that makes it wants it pretty bad and the team that comes out in the third quarter and plays the hardest is maybe the one that’s wanting it a little more,” Mitchell coach Shawn Harvey said. “For a quarter there, they outplayed us and wanted it a little more. We let up on defense a little bit and we weren’t executing our offense.

“Once we settled down, the experience we’ve got with those seniors is what carries us through games like that.”

Keyana Wilfred took over in the final 6:14 for Mitchell, scoring nine of her game-high 23 points in that span to go with 12 rebounds and six blocked shots. The Tigers’ 6-foot-2 senior had her team’s only made free throw of the game to all but secure the victory with five seconds to play.

Wilfred, who entered the state tournament averaging 18.5 points per game and shooting 67 percent from the field, was 11 of 14 from the floor.

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However, Harvey praised his team’s guard play as the Tigers finished with 16 assists. Anabelle Gillen had 11 points and seven assists and Kenzey Kanno had two of Mitchell’s four 3-pointers that Harvey said helped open up Wilfred inside.

“This group of seniors has played together since they were in third grade and they just know where Keyana is going to be and we’ve told them to just throw it up there because she’s going to go get it,” Harvey said. “There are times when it kind of looks like an unorthodox pass, but they know what they’re doing, we’ve taught it that way and Keyana does an amazing job of finding the ball and being able to finish.”

Borer scored nine of her team-high 16 points in the third quarter and Abby Kapels finished with 13 points for Lakeview (18-8). Coach Monte Jones said a sluggish first half — the Vikings shot 4 of 22 from the field — ultimately caught up to his team, which rallied valiantly in the third quarter.

“We just tried to run a couple of sets that would pull Wilfred out away from the basket a little more, so that we had some driving gaps,” Jones said of Lakeview’s halftime adjustments. “That helped and then when we just scored a couple, it didn’t matter if Wilfred was in there. It was just a little momentum-confidence thing.”

The win advanced Mitchell (25-1) into Friday’s 9 a.m. semifinal game against No. 4 Lincoln Christian (18-8). The Tigers will be looking for revenge as the Crusaders beat Mitchell in the first round of the 2016 state tournament and in the third-place game last season.

“We’re familiar with them and we know what they are,” Harvey said of Lincoln Christian. “Our girls would like to have a little payback, I guess you could say, after a couple of years of getting beat by them. They’re looking forward to it and so am I.”

Mitchell (25-1) ............................... 12 13 8 12—45

Columbus Lakeview (18-8) ............ 8 5 18 10—41

M: Anabelle Gillen 11, Kenzey Kanno 6, Keyana Wilfred 23, Jayden Kanno 3, Jessica Cotant 2.

CL: Abby Kapels 7, Emily Van Cleave 4, Gracie Borer 16, Reese Janssen 9, Makenna Klug 5.

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