Class D-1: Fremont Bergan completes volleyball-basketball title sweep with win over Dundy County-Stratton

Allison Dieckmann, left, and Haley Kempf carry off the Class D-1 state championship trophy.

LINCOLN — Fremont Bergan coach Nate Pribnow called it “a rock fight,” and when his best player went to the bench in the fourth quarter after getting poked in the eye, he had to wonder if the program’s state championship would remain a stone’s throw away.

But Haley Kempf returned, helping the Knights to the finish even her mother couldn’t. She scored a game-high 17 points as No. 2 Bergan emerged bruised but unbroken with a 36-27 win over No. 4 Dundy County-Stratton in the Class D-1 championship at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday.

After winning their first volleyball championship in the fall, the Knights added to a year of firsts by grinding out a win in the lowest-scoring D-1 final ever.

The program’s only other championship berth was a 47-46 loss to Gibbon in the 1988 C-1 final that denied Bergan an undefeated season. On that 1988 team, Kempf’s mother and the mother of Bergan senior Allison Dieckmann were sophomore reserves.

“It’s a great feeling,” Dieckmann said, “because me and Haley have talked about it a lot before each and every game that (our mothers) kind of started it for us, but they didn’t get to finish on top, so we wanted to finish for them.”

Dieckmann, who was the setter on the Knights’ volleyball team, sealed the win by hitting 5 of 6 free throws in the final minute. The senior missed all seven of her field-goal attempts, but went 10 of 14 at the line.

Both teams were forced to scrap for scoring. Bergan went 9:41 without a basket in the first half but trailed just 11-10 at halftime.

“We thought that it was going to play into our hands best to make it a really fast-paced type of game, but it didn’t go that way,” Pribnow said. “It was more grind-it-out, play in the half court, which really hasn’t been our style all season long.”

Dundy County-Stratton also went nearly 11 minutes without a field goal over the second and third quarters. The teams shot a combined 2 for 26 from behind the arc.

“On the offensive end, we got every shot we wanted,” Dundy County-Stratton coach Matt Thomas said. “It just wasn’t our morning, I guess. We have nothing to be ashamed of. They’re a great team.”

The Tigers took a 27-25 lead on Maggie Lutz’s 3-pointer with 4:18 to play, but Bergan junior Allie DeGroff answered with two free throws on the next possession then scored on a drive the next time down to give the Knights the lead for good at 29-27.

“It was a close game, and I knew I wanted this. I wanted this for Haley and Allison,” DeGroff said. “So all I wanted to do was score and I needed to get it in there because we were running out of time. I needed to get a rebound and kick out for a 3 or just dribble it in and get that open layup.”

Kempf, who missed a minute of the fourth quarter after being hit in the eye, added to the cushion with a driving floater with 1:10 left. Bergan ended the game on an 11-0 run as Dundy County-Stratton (24-2), which made 9 of 48 field goals, missed its last seven shots.

Grace Frederick had 17 rebounds for the Tigers, breaking the school’s single-season rebounding mark, and added a team-high 10 points.

DCS (24-2).......5 6 9 7 — 27

FB (18-8)........7 3 12 14 — 36

DCS - Sable Lambley 2-6 3-6 7; Maggie Lutz 2-8 1-5 5; Adalene Krutsinger 1-12 0-0 2, McKinzie Baney 1-10 1-2 3; Grace Frederick 3-7 4-4 10

FB - Allison Dieckmann 0-7 10-14 10; Kaia McIntyre 1-3 1-2 3; Allie DeGroff 1-4 2-2 4; Lauren Baker 1-5 0-1 2; Haley Kempf 7-16 2-3 17

3FG: DCS 1-15, FB 1-11; Team Fouls: DCS 18, FB 11; Fouled out: DCS Frederick; Technicals: none; Turnovers: DCS 12, FB 6; Rebounds: DCS 41, FB 31; FG%: DCS 18.8, FB 27.8; FT%: DCS 66.7, FB 68.2.

Sign up for daily headlines from NEPrepZone

Get a daily roundup of game recaps, player features and more in your inbox.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.