Samantha Brester of Howells-Dodge

Samantha Brester of Howells-Dodge works to put up a shot against Nicole Kent, left, and Aubrey Frederick of Dundy County-Stratton.

LINCOLN — A loss that has lingered for a year was avenged Thursday when Howells-Dodge defeated Dundy County-Stratton 54-40 in the first round of the Class D-1 state tournament.

Jaguars coach Scott Polacek said that setback to the Tigers in last year’s state semifinals was not forgotten.

“For these guys to get us last year, we’ve been thinking about this one for 364 days,” Polacek said. “Well, with the leap year, 365 days. It was a dogfight.”

This time, Howells-Dodge (20-6) never trailed. In the game at Lincoln North Star, the Jaguars took a 7-0 lead while the Tigers missed their first four shots.

DCS (22-2) cut its deficit to 8-6 before Howells-Dodge scored 10 of the last 14 points to take an 18-10 lead.

After being held scoreless in the first quarter, Jaguars junior forward Sam Brester scored seven of her game-high 19 points in the second.

That helped keep Howells-Dodge close after the Tigers twice cut the lead to three before heading to halftime with a 30-24 edge. The Jaguars’ lead stayed at six until they went on a 9-2 run to finish the game.

DCS shot 15 of 54 (27.8 percent) from the field, including a 2-of-15 performance in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars also struggled much of the game, making 16 of 45 (35.6 percent).

“That’s a good team and we missed a lot of shots,” Tigers coach Nathan Behlke said. “There’s no doubt they were ready to get revenge.”

Howells-Dodge (20-6)…...................18 12 10 14—54

Dundy County-Stratton (22-2)….......10 14 10 6—40

HD: Chelsea Bayer 15, Kalli Brester 7, Sam Brester 19, Kelly Cech 8, Macey Kulhanek 3, Erin Prusa 2.

DCS: Kaylee Burke 8, FayeLee Sanford 6, Emily Jones 6, Aubrey Frederick 1, Kami Porter 6, Carli Haislip 1, Nicole Kent 10, Grace Frederick 2.

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