LINCOLN — Olivia Hollenbeck was a major factor on both ends of the court, helping Lincoln Christian beat West Point-Beemer 46-35 Thursday morning in first-round play of the Class C-1 state tournament at Devaney Sports Center.

Hollenbeck finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and eight blocked shots as the No. 4-rated Crusaders (18-8) advanced to Friday’s 9 a.m. semifinal at Pinnacle Bank Arena against No. 3 Mitchell (25-1). The Lincoln Christian 6-foot-4 junior was 8 of 15 shooting from the floor and made three consecutive baskets inside early in the fourth quarter to give her team a 43-29 lead with 4:34 to play.

Entering the state tournament averaging 16.2 points per game, Hollenbeck’s standout performance was no surprise to Crusaders coach Nick Orduna.

“It has been that way all year,” Orduna said. “Liv’s presence inside, being 6-4 — a true post who has good feet and can go right or left — creates a lot of mismatches.”

Hollenbeck was also a disruptive force on the defensive end as she sagged off guarding West Point-Beemer’s interior players and patrolled the paint. Not only did Hollenbeck block eight shots, but she altered several others and allowed Christian to apply heavy pressure to the Cadets’ guards on the perimeter.

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“Watching tape, we knew that West Point-Beemer liked to drive to the basket and then kick (out) for 3s,” Orduna said. “We wanted to stop drives to the basket, first with our guards out front, but if they got by, Liv was there to give some help.

“We were able to get a nice lead and it took them a while to figure out what we were doing. We kind of threw some junk at them ... (and) I was very pleased with the way we executed defensively.”

West Point-Beemer was 5 of 28 shooting (17.9 percent) from the floor as the Crusaders built a 29-14 halftime lead. Sidney Swanson had 13 points and 11 rebounds and Sierra Kile scored 13 for the Cadets (23-3), who shot 22.4 percent (13 of 58) for the game.

“All season long, we’ve really relied on our inside-out game and having girls that can attack the basket and then kick it out to our open shooters,” West Point-Beemer coach Taylor Shepard said. “I thought Christian did a nice job of taking away our outside game by having quicker guards get up and guard us and contest some shots and it was difficult to get any offensive momentum going.

“We did a better job in the second half of attacking the rim a little more, but Hollenbeck is definitely an imposing force.”

Macy Arnold added 11 points and eight rebounds and Allyson Korte had 10 points and four assists for Christian, which had to overcome some early-morning drama. Orduna said one of the two vans transporting the Crusaders to the game was involved in a minor accident with another vehicle and it was less than an hour before tipoff before he arrived at Devaney.

Despite not having a senior on the roster, Orduna said Christian has been a resilient team throughout the season.

“It’s amazing — I’ve called them my young pups all year, but they’re growing up right before my eyes,” Orduna said. “I’ve almost started calling some of the girls seniors who are juniors. To have a young group like this play well in this type of environment, I was very proud.”

Lincoln Christian (18-8) .............. 13 16 8 9—46

West Point-Beemer (23-3) .......... 6 8 13 8—35

LC: Barrett Power 4, Makylee Ailes 3, Allyson Korte 10, Macy Arnold 11, Olivia Hollenbeck 18.

WP-B:Darian Repschlaeger 2, Sidney Swanson 13, Andrea Hoffman 4, Sierra Kile 13, Rachel Groth 3.

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